o Plaintiff sustained injuries when a floor board gave way causing her to fall and her foot and leg went through the floor while attending a ball game at defendant's resort. The floorboard which broke was and described as rotten, defective, soggy, pithy, decomposed etc. and it was said that it broke without splintering. It was also said that it would have been observable to a man making an ordinary inspection of it.
o The issue is whether from the circumstances it can be fairly inferred that a reasonable inspection by defendant would have discovered the defect.
o Held: there is sufficient evidence of negligence such that the question should have been submitted to the jury.
o Reasonable care under the circumstances would require inspection, repair, or blocking of access. Had this occurred, defendant may have replaced it, taken measures to block access with caution tape or otherwise divert traffic, or put up a sign to warn people.
NOTE: Applying the open and obvious danger rule, to avoid liability the defendant could have actually made the hole bigger or more obvious. People would then be considered to be on notice of the danger.
Issue: If concurrent causes by two or more different parties result in damage that would have resulted by either cause independently of the other, can either party be held liable for all of the damage?
Holding and Rule: Yes. Each party whose actions contribute to damage resulting from concurrent causes can be held liable for all damage produced, if their actions would have produced the damage independently of the others.
The court held that the evidence only supported a finding that one of the fires was caused by D. There were two separate, independent, and distinct agencies, each of which constituted the proximate cause of P's damage, and either of which, in the absence of the other, would have accomplished such result.
Any one of two or more joint tortfeasors whose concurrent acts of negligence result in injury are each responsible for the entire damage resulting from their concurrent acts of negligence. The same is true when two causes concur in producing an injury to another, either of which causes would produce it regardless of the other. If each fire was of known origin, then each party responsible would be liable for the damage as a whole. P does not have the burden of proving the origin of both fires.