The Danger Zone in Tort Law 1926

The Danger Zone in Tort Law 1926
The toppling of a penny scale, similar to the one shown here, prompted a ruling that introduced the concept of foreseeability into tort law, limiting liability to reasonably foreseeable consequences of a negligent act. | The Danger Zone in Tort Law 1926

The Danger Zone in Tort Law 1926

Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co.

Rule

Because it happened to be a wrong, though apparently not one involving the risk of bodily insecurity, with reference to someone else, an act innocent and harmless, at least on the surface, with reference to a plaintiff, does not take on the quality of a tort because it happened to be a wrong, though apparently not one involving the risk of bodily insecurity. In every case, before carelessness can be attributed to a specific conduct, the act must be traced back to a responsibility owed to the person who is complaining, which if followed would have prevented or mitigated the injury. The concepts of negligence and obligation are inextricably linked.

Facts of the Case

Plaintiff is a passenger with a valid ticket. Helen Palsgraf was on the defendant Long Island Railroad Company’s platform. At an adjacent platform, a man carrying a package rushed aboard the car of a running train. A security in the car leaned out to assist him, and a guard on the platform shoved him backwards.

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The United States Code 1926

The United States Code 1926
The United States Code 1926

The United States Code 1926

The United States Code is a multi-volume compilation and codification of the United States’ general and permanent laws. According to subject matter, the volumes are divided into fifty titles. Regulations published by federal agencies, decisions of federal courts, laws adopted by state or municipal governments, and treaties are not included in the Code.

Prior to 1926, researching federal statutory law was extremely difficult. The Revised Statutes of the United States (1875), which contained inaccuracies, contained all federal statutes enacted before 1875. After 1875, laws were published in chronological sequence, without subject matter organization or a cumulative index, in volumes of the United States Statutes at Large. The publishing of the Code was approved by Congress in 1926, bringing together all legal federal laws in one volume organized by topic matter.

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