Watson v. Kentucky Indiana Bridge and R.R. Co. case brief
Facts: A tank full of gasoline derailed and valve broken so that gasoline ran into street. Defendant was proved negligent. Duerr struck a match, igniting gasoline vapor which caused the explosion that injured plaintiff. Duerr testified that he was lighting a match to light a cigar but a witness testified that he said he wanted to light it on fire. Defendant won, plaintiff appeals.
Decision: Judgment reversed for plaintiff and new trial ordered.
Reasoning: Trial court invaded jury’s jurisdiction by ruling Duerr’s cigarette lighting a malicious cause. That is a fact based question that only jury can determine. The gasoline coming in contact with fire is very probable; even If Duerr did not light it is possible that someone else would have. It rests upon theory of Duerr, if he was malicious in lighting a fire or not.
Holding: A defendant is not liable for the acts of a malicious defendant because it breaks the causal link between the injury and the act.