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THE

 FACTORED  NEGLIGENCE  FORMULA  


Ma2hew  Leaper  ©  2010  

If B < Φ ∗P ∗M, then duty.


Burden  of  PrevenPon:  minimum   Probability  of  Damages:   Magnitude  of  Damages:  
amount  of  spending  required  to   es#mated  from  the  fact   es#mated  from  the  fact  
avoid  damages  (and,  thus,  liability   pa/ern  via  probability   pa/ern  with  actuarial  science,  
for  negligence);  either  calculated   theory  or  derived  from   i.e.,  same  principles  used  to  
from  the  formula  or  known.       empirical  data.       calculate  insurance  premiums.    

Public  Interest  Factor  (Phi):  tabulated  ‘factor  of  safety2’  derived  from  the  
administra#ve,  common,  and  statutory  law  applicable  to  the  fact  pa/ern.  

RaPonale:  the  variables  in  tradi#onal  negligence  formula3  are  oDen  modified  to  account  for  public  
policy  interests1.    The  value  of  the  modifica#ons  can  be  derived  from  the  decisions  that  se/le  each  
unique  fact  pa/ern.      Tabula#ng  these  values  into  anonymous  ‘factors  of  safety’  for  applica#on  to  
analogous  fact  pa/erns  will  promote  economic  efficiency4  by  helping  decision  makers  to  act  in  
accordance  with  the  evolving  expecta#ons  of  the  law.    
1.  Cf.  Restatement  (Second)  of  Torts  §291-­‐293    
2.  Essen#ally,  a  ra#o  of  how  much  stronger  a  thing  is  than  it  needs  to  be.  
3.  See  United  States  v.  Carroll  Towing  Co.,  159  F.2d  169  (2nd  Cir.  1947)  
4.  See  Theory  of  Negligence,  1  J.  Legal  Stud.  29  (1972)