Case: Parties


Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad, Co. Plaintiff - Palsgraf Defendant - LIRR

Procedural History: Verdict for plaintiff in trial court. Defendant appeals, verdict for plaintiff affirms. Defendant appeals to this affirmation of the appellant court. Facts: Palsgraf was standing on the platform of LIRR, waiting for a train. Another train came into the station and a man was trying to catch it. LIRR guards helped the man onto that train, as it was departing, and in the process, lead to the man dropping a package on the railroad tracks. The package did not show any sign of its contents, but happened to contain fireworks, which went off, leading to injury of the plaintiff at the other end of the platform. Issue: Is LIRR liable for Palgraf's injuries, when committing a negligent act (of pushing passenger onto car), but having no foreseeable reason to believe there were fireworks in the package, and that they would explode causing injury to the plaintiff? Holding: The court reversed the judgment of the appellate court and dismissed the complaint. Upon final determination, the court reversed the judgment, holding that the passenger failed to prove that the railroad's alleged negligence proximately caused her injuries. Reasoning: Essentially, the court held that under the foreseeability test, it was not reasonable to hold that the railroad's alleged negligence was the cause of the passenger's injuries. Rather, it was the explosion that was the proximate cause, and the railroad could not have reasonably expected such a disaster. Notes: What is the Cardozo uses to determine if RR is liable? Foreseeability If a reasonable person would foresee no harm to anyone as a result of his actions we do not reach the proximate cause issue. Duty of care, and negligence. What is the test that Andrews (dissent) would use instead? Direct Cause test (he called it proximate cause, but this now means something else) - a person who is negligent to any class of persons is negligent to everyone who is in fact injured. Not a matter of foreseeability alone. Restatement (3rd) of torts: Liab. Physical Harfm, 32

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