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Foreseeability and proximate cause really is dead



In a marvelous self-parody, the City Bar Association of New York, together with the Historical Society for New York state courts, reenacted the argument over the famous Palsgraf case—and ruled in Palsgraf's favor. Peter Lattman has details.

The original 1928 Palsgraf case, of course, was an early version of the deep-pockets search: a passenger carrying dynamite was rushing for a train when a Long Island Railroad employee did a poor job of keeping him from falling, causing the package of fireworks to drop and explode, causing scales to fall on Ms. Palsgraf a ways away and injure her, for which she sought to blame the railroad, rather than the fellow who dropped his fireworks. (Not mentioned in the opinion, taught in every law school torts class: Palsgraf's chief complaint for damages was that the accident caused her to start "stuttering and stammering.")

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.