Share
Explore BrainMass

Negligence and Duty of Care

Explain whether Christina has a claim in negligence in any of the situation:

(a) While Joseph worked as an electrician for Careful Services Ltd, a company which installed electricity for local authority houses. Joseph made a mistake when wiring a house in which Christina lived and operated a successful wedding dressmaking business

The faulty wiring caused Christina to get an electric shock when she turned on her electric sewing machine. The electric shock injured Christina's hands and damaged the sewing machine. Due to the cut in electricity Tricia, Christina's assistant, could not operate the other sewing machine for the rest of the day.

(b) Christina had indicated to Costa, who was going to audit the accounts of Beauty Products Plc tha she was keen to see Beauty Products Plc prosper and might invest in it. Costa carried out the annual company audit. Christina read this report, which was impressive. She decided to invest all of her savings in shares in the company. However, the audit report had been inaccurate and the company soon went into insolvent liquidation. Christina, as a consequence made a substantial loss on her investment.

(c) Sound practices, a firm of accountants, audited the accounts of International Co-operation Plc. Christina was already a shareholder in the company but have never talked to the accountants about her financial interests. After reading the audit report and forecast she decided to increase her share holding in the company. The accountants had seriously overestimated the company's profits and potential. The company soon went into insolvent liquidation. Christiana's shares became worthless.

Support the legal reason you give in your answer with case law.

In your answer consider the different criteria in establishing the existence of legal 'duty of care' in (a), (b), and (c).

Solution Preview

Please see response attached (also presented below) as well as the supporting criteria in establishing the existence of legal 'duty of care." Good luck with your studies and take care.

RESPONSE:

1. Explain whether Christina has a claim in negligence in any of the situation.

See attachment for the different criteria establishing the legal 'duty of care'":

Case 1:

While Joseph worked as an electrician for Careful Services Ltd, a company that installed electricity for local authority houses. Joseph made a mistake when wiring a house in which Christina lived and operated a successful wedding dressmaking business. The faulty wiring caused Christina to get an electric shock when she turned on her electric sewing machine. The electric shock injured Christina's hands and damaged the sewing machine. Due to the cut in electricity Tricia, Christina's assistant, could not operate the other sewing machine for the rest of the day.

Duty concerns whether a person has a legal obligation to act, and a corresponding legal liability for failing to act, in a particular circumstance. The existence of a duty is a question of law for the court. (Isaacs v. Huntington Memorial Hospital (1985) 38 Cal.3d 112, 124.).

The seminal case on duty is (Palsgraf v. Long Island R. Co. (1928) 248 N.Y. 339 [162 N.E. 99, 59 A.L.R. 1253]) While Mrs. Palsgraf stood on a platform of defendant's railroad, a man carrying a package of fireworks wrapped in a newspaper attempted to board a moving train. A railroad employee assisted him, and the package was dislodged, fell and exploded. The shock threw down platform scales many feet away, and these struck Mrs. Palsgraf. Palsgraf established that in analyzing questions regarding the scope of an individual actor's duty, the courts look to whether the relationship of the parties is such as to give rise to a duty of care and whether the plaintiff was within the zone of foreseeable harm. (Palsgraf v. Long Is. R.R. Co., supra.) "The damaged plaintiff must be able to point the finger of responsibility at a defendant owing, not a general duty to society, but a specific duty to him." (Johnson v. Jamaica Hosp., , 62 NY2d 523, 527.) "The risk reasonably to be perceived defines the duty to be obeyed." (Palsgraf v. Long Is. R.R. Co., supra.). In other words, ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the existence of a claim of negligence (or not) in three different CASE scenarios, including the supporting criteria in establishing the existence of the legal 'duty of care.' Supplemented with a highly informative article.

$2.19