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UMASS / Business Management / MANAGMNT 260 / What are the three primary elements of negligence?

What are the three primary elements of negligence?

What are the three primary elements of negligence?


School: University of Massachusetts
Department: Business Management
Course: Introduction to Law
Professor: Michael malkovich
Term: Spring 2016
Tags: Management, Law, tort, and Theory
Cost: 25
Name: Management 260 Week 11 Notes
Description: Hey guys, This is my notes for the 11th week of Professor Malkovich's Management 260 class. We went over the theories of products liability. Hope you enjoy! -Eunji
Uploaded: 04/08/2016
5 Pages 206 Views 1 Unlocks

UMass Amherst

What are the three primary elements of negligence?

Management 260

Professor Malkovich Week 11 Notes: Apr 4 – 8

By Eunji Cho

April 5, 2016

Rest of elements for negligence

• Causation (physical causation)

o Whatever action (breach of duty) that the defendant did  caused the consequences

o Intervening cause

▪ Something else happened that prevented the  

defendant to keep the duty -> moving  

responsibility to the other cause

• Proximate cause (legal cause)

o Only held responsible for reasonably foreseeable  


o If the plaintiff acted in a way in which a reasonable  person wouldn’t, then the defendant’s actions don’t  

Can you have proximate cause without actual cause?

have proximate cause.

Defense for Negligence

• Assumption of risk

o If the plaintiff assumed the obvious risk, the plaintiff  recovers nothing.

o Joe knew the risks for touching the power lines – he is  out of luck.

• Contributory negligence

o When the plaintiff contributed to the harm they suffered  through their own negligence.

• Comparative negligence

o Applies in Massachusetts

o Balance between conduct of plaintiff and defendant,  gives jury the mechanism to make the adequate  


o The defendant must be at least 51% negligent

What is the outcome for the plaintiff when the standard of pure comparative negligence is applied?

▪ The defendant has to be more negligent than the  


▪ Jury decides the percentage If you want to learn more check out What are human methods?

▪ If the plaintiff and defendant are equally  

negligence, the outcome is $0 (no damages).

▪ If there are $100,000 in damages, and the  

plaintiff is 40% negligent, the defendant only  

pays $60,000. (defendant 60% negligent)

Strict liability

• Extremely dangerous or hazardous activity

o The defendant’s actions were extremely dangerous or  hazardous

• Causation

o The defendant’s actions caused the damages

• Damages

• With strict liability, if the defendant does anything extremely  hazardous, you will be responsible for anything caused due to  your actions. We also discuss several other topics like What are disadvantages of being landlocked?

• Extremely hazardous activity doesn’t always have to involve  causations or damages as long as you don’t cause any bad  consequences

“Act of God”

• Found under few insurance elements to exclude their liability • Doesn’t protect defendants from strict liability Don't forget about the age old question of How does obedience to authority influence our behavior?

Product Liability Cases

• Possible defendants if a product is defective

o Designer

o Manufacturer

o Primary material supplier We also discuss several other topics like What causes rigor mortis?

o Seller

o Distributor

o Advertiser

• Possible plaintiffs (altered by possible defendants)

o Single plaintiff

o Multiple names plaintiff

o Class of plaintiffs

▪ Survey to find more people who were affected by  

the defected product

▪ Class Action Lawsuit If you want to learn more check out What is ventilation in a respiratory system?

???? Similarly situated with respect to liability Don't forget about the age old question of How do you find the electric force between a proton and an electron?

???? Efficient for court to bring everyone with  

similar situations together

???? Plaintiff’s lawyer explains why court should  

agree with class action lawsuit

• Products Liability Theories

1. Negligence (should check products to make sure there  are no side effects)

▪ Duty of care

▪ Breach of duty

▪ Causation

▪ Proximate cause

2. Breach of implied warranty of fitness for normal purposes

▪ Theory strongly favoring consumers

▪ Companies would be responsible for potential  

damages under this theory, although their  

‘disclaimer’ says otherwise

▪ Under this theory, companies are implied to  

warrant the quality of the product

▪ Defense: Misuse of product

▪ The plaintiff doesn’t have to be someone who  

bought the product, as long as they used the  


3. Strict liability

▪ Unreasonably dangerous product (instead of  

extremely hazardous activity)

???? ‘State of the art’ defense

• If products are inherently dangerous,  

the company that manufactures the  

product has to make them the safest  

they can

• Lawn mowers evolved to significantly  

reduce the possibility of damages  

through using the product

• If the product is safe (state of the  

art), but the customer got hurt  

anyway, then the law is in favor of the  

company since they made the product  


▪ Causation

▪ Damages

April 7, 2016

Products Liability Theories (continued)

4. Misrepresentation

• Material fact about a product which would reasonably induce  somebody to rely upon such representation

• Reasonable reliance by the buyer on the representation • Damages

5. Breach of warranty of fitness for a particular purpose • Reliance on expertise of seller in choosing the product o Getting advice at Wal-Mart and a specialty store is  different – when you go to the specialty store and rely  on their expertise, then you would have a claim against  the specialty store if the product failed.

• Key is the consumer’s reliance

Privity: Relying on relationship between the consumer and the provider

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