Thursday, December 3, 2015

Watson v. Kentucky Indiana Bridge and R.R. Co. case brief summary

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 the 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 a 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 the 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. 

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