[31], Despite being the longest statement of the facts in any of the four appellate opinions generated by the case,[32] Cardozo's was described by Posner as "elliptical and slanted". Will the result be different if the object containing the explosives is a valise instead? [20] Its brief alleged that the trainmen could not have stopped the man from boarding, and once he had flung himself onto the train, had little choice but to help him, "faced with such an emergency they cannot be charged with negligence because they elected to assist the man rather than stand idly by and leave him to his fate. Is it proper, in Palsgraf itself, so utterly to ignore the fact that the plaintiff was a passenger[?] [74], According to Posner, "Cardozo's 'bottom line' is that there is no liability to an unforeseeable plaintiff". At the time of the 1928 New York Court of Appeals decision in Palsgraf, that state's case law followed a classical formation for negligence: the plaintiff had to show that the Long Island Railroad ("LIRR" or "the railroad") had a duty of care, and that she was injured through a breach of that duty. [47], Andrews found Cardozo's reasoning too narrow, and felt that the focus should be on the unreasonable act: driving down Broadway at high speed is negligent whether or not an accident occurs. Essay # 1 – Palsgraf v. Long Island R.R. Seeing a man running to catch a departing train, two railroad guards reached down to lift him up. 1.) "[49], An event may have many causes, Andrews noted, and only some may be deemed proximate. Just how no one might be able to predict. At the time of the 1928 New York Court of Appeals decision in Palsgraf, that state's case law followed a classical formation for negligence: the plaintiff had to show that the Long Island Railroad[a] ("LIRR" or "the railroad") had a duty of care, and that she was injured through a breach of that duty. "[59] According to Prosser, writing in his hornbook for law students, "what the Palsgraf case actually did was submit to the nation's most excellent state court a law professor's dream of an examination question". [52] The court denied the motion with a one-sentence statement likely written by Cardozo, "If we assume that the plaintiff was nearer the scene of the explosion than the prevailing opinion would suggest, she was not so near that injury from a falling package, not known to contain explosives, would be within the range of reasonable prevision. The explosive package is described as small, though the witnesses had described it as large. "[63], The first mentions of Palsgraf in law reviews were case notes written by law students, appearing over the course of the year following the decision by the Court of Appeals. Explain, why the plaintiff in Palsgraf v.Long Island Railroad Co. lost her case. "[37] Only if there is a duty to the injured plaintiff, the breach of which causes injury, can there be liability. The package contained fireworks which exploded when they hit the ground. Helen Palsgraf (plaintiff) was standing on a platform owned by the Long Island R.R. But for a time, after water from a muddy swamp or a clayey bed joins, its origin may be traced. It is practical politics."[50]. [43], William S. Andrews of Syracuse was a 69-year-old[44] judge, noted for his scholarship, who had been on the Court of Appeals since 1917. I begin with a summary of the case. Fast and free shipping free returns cash on delivery available on eligible purchase. Palsgraf v. Long Island R.R. Palsgraf v Long Island Railroad Co [1928] 248 NY 339. A train stopped at the station, bound for another place. The case was heard on May 24 and 25, 1927, with Justice Burt Jay Humphrey presiding. [15] A motion for a new trial was denied on May 27, 1927 by Justice Humphrey, who did not issue a written opinion, and a judgment was entered on the verdict on May 31, from which the LIRR appealed on June 14. Wood deemed the trainmen guilty of a "dereliction of duty", misconduct that was the proximate cause of Palsgraf's injuries. Written in English. "[76], Cardozo has been praised for his style of writing in Palsgraf. The neurologist, Graeme M. Hammond of Manhattan, had examined Palsgraf two days before, observing her stammering, speaking only with difficulty. Followed Wife in 3 Days. [88], "Palsgraf" redirects here. The facts of the famous negligence case, Palsgraf v. Long Island R.R., are as follows: Helen Palsgraf was standing on a rail road platform in New York City on August 24, 1924, waiting for a train to take her and her two daughters to Rockaway Beach. The Foundation and Structure of American Legal History. [7] At trial, Palsgraf testified that she had been hit in the side by the scale, and had been treated at the scene, and then took a taxicab home. 1. [30] Cardozo was joined by Judges Cuthbert W. Pound, Irving Lehman and Henry Kellogg. Albert H. F. Seeger wrote the majority opinion for the five justices hearing the case, and was joined by Justices William F. Hagarty and William B. In Palsgraf, the plaintiff, Helen Palsgraf, was on her way to Rockaway Beach with her daughters. Ms. Palsgraf entered a final petition for a rehearing of the case, claiming that she might have been standing closer to the explosion than she had previously indicated, but her motion was denied on 9 October 1928. One of the men reached the platform of the car without mishap, though the train was already moving. Written and curated by real attorneys at Quimbee. [22] Lazansky did not question the jury finding of negligence, but felt that the employees' conduct was not the proximate cause of Palsgraf's injuries, since the man's conduct in bringing a package that might explode to a crowded passenger station was an independent act of negligence, rendering the neglect by the railroad too remote in causation for there to be liability. Although a clear majority of jurisdictions state that duty is the proper home for plaintiff-foreseeability, Cardozo's vision of foreseeability as a categorical determination has not been widely adopted. Perhaps less. The case was heard by the New York Court of Appeals, the highest state court in New York; its opinion was written by Chief Judge Benjamin Cardozo, a leading figure in the development of American common law and later a United States Supreme Court justice. Negligence that does no one harm is not a tort. Negligence cannot impose liability where an intentional act would not. 99, 1928 N.Y. Lexis 1269 (N.Y.), Justice Cardoza denied recovery for the plaintiff. Elected to the Supreme Court in 1917, he had been designated presiding justice of the Second Department by Governor Smith earlier in 1927. The new formulation makes foreseeability, or the scope of the risk, not a hurdle that must be overcome, as in Palsgraf, but a factor to be weighed with others when determining whether there was negligence. He suggested the analogy of a river, made up of water from many sources, and by the time it wound to sea, fully intermixed. [16] Once Palsgraf had gotten her jury verdict, the Gerhardts also sued the railroad, with Wood as their counsel.[17]. In this act, the package was dislodged, and fell upon the rails. [14] Pursuant to statute, she also recovered costs of $142, an amount added to the verdict. His opposing trial counsel, McNamara, remained with the LIRR's legal department until his retirement in 1959, while McNamara's superior and counsel of record, Keany, continued as the railroad's general solicitor until he died in 1935. When the platforms collapsed, they hit Palsgraf causing injuries for which she sues. ©2019 “Submit Your Assignment”. Please contact me at perfectpapers2015@gmail.com A majority of courts prefer to leave foreseeability—even as a part of duty—to the jury."[87]. That point, beyond which there is no proximate cause, is drawn differently by different judges, and by different courts, Andrews explained. Under New York precedent, the usual duty of utmost care that the railroad as a common carrier owed its customers did not apply to platformsand other parts of th… A guard on the car, who had held the door open, reached forward to help him in, and another guard on the platform pushed him from behind. "As to the proper doctrinal home for plaintiff-foreseeability, Cardozo has undoubtedly prevailed. You will discuss the Palsgraf case below so pick two different cases. While standing on the train platform buying tickets, two men ran to catch a train that had already started moving. Such an act is wrong to the public at large, not only to those who might be injured. He found that neither Cardozo nor Andrews has won on the question of how duty of care is formulated, with courts applying policy analyses. William H. Manz, in his article on the facts in Palsgraf, suggested that neither side spent much time preparing for trial. Palsgraf is standard reading for first-year tort students in many, if not most American law schools. The scene is a loud and bustling railroad station on East Long Island almost one hundred years ago. Legal action for negligence can only arise if the plaintiff's own right is violated, not if the plaintiff incurred injury due to a wrong against someone else. of the District Court of Denver. The plaintiff's brief also suggested that the failure of the railroad to call as witnesses the employees who had aided the man should decide any inferences of negligence against it. [69] According to Posner, writing in 1990, Cardozo's holding that there is no liability to a plaintiff who could not have been foreseen "has been followed by a number of states besides New York, but it remains the minority rule. [32] According to Professor Walter O. Weyrauch in his 1978 journal article, "Cardozo's famous opinion reduced the complicated facts of the case to a bare minimum. The scales are described as being "at the other end of the platform, many feet away" from the explosion, but the record does not support this statement. And surely, given such an explosion as here it needed no great foresight to predict that the natural result would be to injure one on the platform at no greater distance from its scene than was the plaintiff. Cardozo's characterization of distance would be challenged by the plaintiff in her motion for reargument, which would be denied with the rejoinder that however close she was to the explosion, she was not so close as to bring her within the zone of foreseeable risk. The wording of the decision strongly implies that had the railroad employees known that the parcel contained explosives, they would have been negligent with regard to Ms. Palsgraf's safety, and the railroad would have been liable to compensate her for her injuries. [11] Elizabeth and Lillian Palsgraf, the elder and younger daughter of the plaintiff, were next to testify and spoke of what they had seen. The case is an example of strict liability, a concept which has generally fallen out of favour with the common law courts. [78] Richard Polenberg, in his study of that jurist, stated, "Cardozo had a genius for making it seem that the results he reached were logical, inevitable, and legally unassailable". [51], Given that, Andrews concluded, the jury verdict should be upheld. At the time of her death, Palsgraf was living in Richmond Hill, Queens with her daughter Elizabeth. Summary of Palsgraf v. The Long Island Railroad Company, 248 N.Y. 339; 162 n.e. There was no remoteness in time, little in space. [33] It has also been deemed "highly abstract". The guards' wronging him happened to harm Mrs. Palsgraf. I disagree that the original judgment finding the Railroad Company negligent should have be overturned. [79] Prosser stated, "with due respect to the superlative style in which both [Cardozo's and Andrews' opinions] are written, neither of them wears well on long acquaintance. 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