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Good Samaritan obligations

The general rule in our law, much criticized over the years, is that there is no legally enforceable "Good Samaritan" duty to assist a stranger in distress. Earlier this month the California Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit against a taco shop in a gang-ridden San Diego neighborhood whose employees failed to call 911 during an eight-minute parking lot altercation in which a man was beaten and stabbed. Charles Morris IV was not himself a customer of the restaurant, but his friends had gone inside to order. Morris's lawsuit was thrown out by a trial court but reinstated by an appeals court, and businesspeople are now wondering, if the Court sees fit to inch into the territory of newly created Good Samaritan duties, what the scope of their obligations will turn out to be. (appeals court decision in PDF; blogger Vagabondia comments).



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.