Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kingston v. Chicago & Northwestern Railway Co. case brief

Kingston v. Chicago & Northwestern Railway Co. case summary
211 N.W. 913 (Wis. 1927)
Tort Law

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Defendant railroad sought review of an order of the Circuit Court for Shawano County (Wisconsin), which entered a judgment for plaintiff property owner in a suit to recover for fire damage to his property.


-After his property sustained fire damage, plaintiff property owner filed a suit against defendant railroad.
-Plaintiff's property had been damaged when two fires united.
-The lower court entered a judgment for plaintiff.

-On appeal, the court affirmed the lower court's order, holding that although only one of the fires was attributable to defendant, it was still liable to plaintiff for the damage caused by both fires.
-The court further held that the fact that the other fire was of unknown origin did not affect defendant's liability because the fire attributable to defendant was of a greater magnitude.
-Finally, the court held that the fire of unknown origin had not superseded the fire attributable to defendant.

-Any one of two or more joint tortfeasors or one of two or more wrongdoers whose concurring acts of negligence result in injury, are each individually responsible for the entire damage resulting from their joint or concurrent acts of negligence.
-This rule also obtains where two causes, each attributable to the negligence of a responsible person, concur in producing an injury to another, either of which causes would produce it regardless of the other, because, whether the concurrence be intentional, actual, or constructive, each wrongdoer, in effect, adopts the conduct of his co-actor, and for the further reason that it is impossible to apportion the damage or to say that either perpetrated any distinct injury that can be separated from the whole. The whole loss must necessarily be considered and treated as an entirety. 

CONCLUSION: The court affirmed an order of the lower court, which entered a judgment for plaintiff property owner in a suit against defendant railroad to recover for fire damage to his property. A fire attributed to defendant was not superseded by another fire of unknown origin.

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