Strict Liability A New View

Strict Liability A New View

With the FYLSE quickly approaching it is important to remember that joy and fun we once experienced when studying the law.  Remember that at one point, you actually enjoyed this stuff!  In the spirit of fun I attempted to tackle the ever dreaded concept of Strict Liability.

In Strict Liability we have four theories:

  • Negligence Per Se
  • Strict Product Liability in Tort
  • Strict Liability for Dangerous Animals
  • Strict Liability for Dangerous Activities

Strict Liability for Dangerous Animals

One is strictly liable for personal injuries inflicted by his animals if it has known and dangerous propensities.  Known dangerous propensities are shown if he knew or had reason to know of the dangerous quality of animal. Wild animals generally have known and dangerous propensities and are not customarily devoted to the service of Humankind.  Domestic animals have known and dangerous propensities only if a reasonable owner would realize that the animal presented a danger of death or injury.  Defendant is strictly liable for any trespass to land or chattel of the plaintiff by the wild animals or livestock possessed by the defendant.   Remember to do a casual connection analysis Causation (Actual and Proximate), Damages, and Defenses.

Strict Liability for Dangerous Activity

An activity is considered dangerous if it A.) creates a risk of serious injury B.) the risk cannot be eliminated by the exercise of due care, and C.) the activity is not usually conducted in the area.  Don’t forget to do your Cause, Damages, and Defenses analysis.

Strict Product Liability in Tort

Strict liability is invoked when a defective product for which defendant is responsible injures an appropriate plaintiff.  A proper defendant is one in the chain of manufacturing, distribution or supplying of a particular defective product.  A proper plaintiff is any plaintiff injured while using a defective product or the plaintiff injured was a reasonable foreseeable bystander.  A majority of jurisdictions impose strict liability where a product is in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous.  The three types of flaws are manufacturing flaws, design defects, and failure to warn.  Manufacturing flaws are when the product is manufactured in a form other than the manufacturer intended.  Design flaws are products manufactured as intended but still present danger of injury from a design defect.  Failure to warn, inadequate warning, or absence of warning is shown where the manufacturer knew or reasonably should have known of a danger presented by the product and failed to take the precautions a reasonable person would have taken to warn adequately of that danger. The most frequently used formulations for determining whether a product is sufficiently defective is the consumer expectation test, the danger utility test, and the hindsight-negligence test.

Negligence Per Se

Where defendants conduct violates a statute that does not provide for civil liability, the statute may establish the standard of conduct for breach of duty purposes.  The injury caused by the defendants conduct must be the type of conduct which the statute was intended to prevent, the plaintiff must be a member of the class intended to be protected, ad the defendant’s violation must not be excused.