LAWS101 - Donoghue v Stevens

Cases from the Donoghue v Stevens line - LAWS101, Otago University
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Donoghue v Stevens
Snail in opaque bottle.
- Held that owed duty to any consumer who would be closely and directly affected.
- No opportunity for intermediate examination
- Rationale - neighbourhood principle.
Grant v Australian Knitting Mills
Busy underwear, wears for a while, gets dermatitis.
- Expands duty of care to manufacturers of EXTERNAL products (obiter - cleaning products etc.)
- States that negligence can be inferred from the defect - and it it is up to the manufacturer to show they're not negligent.
(NEGLIGENT UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT)
Andrews v Hopkins
2nd hand car - seller stakes life on car, it breaks down.
- Extends duty of care to dealers/ individuals who have SUFFICIENT EXPERTISE.
- Even if opportunity for int. examination, buyer allowed to rely on dealer's expertise.
Brown v Cotterill
Tombstone is erected - falls over, squashes girl.
- Holds forseeable that she would be closely and directly effected.
- Extends DOC to bystanders
Stennet v Hancock
Truck taken to repair - wheels fall off due to faulty repair, hits Mr's Stennet.
- Extends DOC to repairers who have expertise.
- Holds foreseeable that pedestrian would be harmed.
- Truck owner not negligent, as he had done right thing. Repairer was negligent.
Borhill v Young
Motorbike wrong way up highway - crashes. Pregnant woman in other lane HEARS crash - blames later miscarriage on crash.
- Held UNFORESEEABLE PLAINTIFF - not closely or directly effected
Palsgraf v Long Island
Loading explosives onto train - go off - cause scales down other end of station to fall onto woman.
- Held UNFORESEEABLE PLAINTIFF - physically very far away, too far removed from negligent act.
Marx v Attorney General
Marx had head injury at work - personality changed, became violent etc. Wife tried to sue workplace.
- Held UNFORESEEABLE PLAINTIFF - work injury too far from wife at home.
Holmes v Ashford
Hair dye sold to hairdressers - vague warning. Didn't test dye - caused dermatitis to client.
- Held that vague warning WAS SUFFICIENT given it was sold to competent hairdressers - who have expertise, and should know to check product. However if sold to public, likely to be liable.
Herschtal
Got car reconditioned - wheel fell off.
- Held that when a dangerous article, defendant owes duty - and is only not liable if they anticipate there would be an inspection.
Bowen v Paramount Builders - facts
house built on bad foundations - found crack, covered it up, sold to Bowens who bought with hardly any inspection.
Bowen - duty issue
- All 3 judges agreed duty owed.
- Richmond P said duty extended to architects, engineers etc.
- Woodhouse J said whoever can bear the loss financially is liable
- Cooke J said Meritorious claims should be allowed
Bowen - Negligence issue
Majority (Woodhouse J & Cooke J) held that builders were negligent - 'RED FLAG' from inspector - they should have checked further to see if any damage.
Bowen - Intermediate examination issue
Held by majority than vendors are unlikely to disclose defects.
- Also held that as it was a new house, buyers cannot be expected to check it - entitled to RELY ON THE SKILL OF THE BUILDER.
Bowen - Time limits issue
Limitation Act 1950: Liability ceases 6 years after the cause of action accrues.
- Richmond P says that accrual point is damage MORE THAN MINIMAL
- Cooke J says accrual point is every time there is NEW AND DISTINCT damage (6 years start again)
S 393 Building Act 2004: Backstop provision: Liability ceases 10 years after the date on which the actions are based.
Bowen - Prior settlement issue
- Woodhouse J holds that if you settle with one person, limits liability to others.
- Cooke J holds if you can show NEW AND DISTINCT damage since settlement, can have new cause of action.
- Richmond P agrees with Cooke, adds ability to bring joint torfeasor
Bowen - Damages recoverable issue
Majority ruled can only claim for loss consequent on PHYSICAL DAMAGE e.g. repairs, loss of rental etc.
- Cooke J obiter - argued can claim pure economic loss (e.g. if neighbour's house devalued as result of scandal)
Invercargill City Council v Hamlin
Similar to Bowen - held that duty can be extended not only to builders, but to city councils, for being negligent in their inspections.
Sunset Terraces
Held that duty owed to all homes, even apartment blocks.
- Held councils can warn, in form of LIM report.
- Obiter: Failure to get LIM report may be contributory negligence.
Body Corporate v North Shore City Council
Similar to Sunset Terraces - held that duty owed to all buildings that are inhabited - regardless of nature of premesis.
Jull v Wilson
Forklift taken to repairers - did a hurried job, warned it was only temporary fix. After 5 months of use, forklift broke down and caused damage.
- Held warning that the job was temporary was NOT ENOUGH. People often 'make-do' with products - and 5 months not very long in life of forklift.
Jull v Wilson Obiter - 4 duties of a warning:
1. Dislcose the true nature of the defect
2. Express a warning of danger
3. Suggestion of inspection
4. Place a time limit on usage
Yachetti v Duff
Uncooked sausages - tried to sue for not having a warning about cooking them.
- Held that the manufacturer, in some circumstances can rely on the consumer's common sense. (I.e. you'd have a to be stupid to eat raw sausages)
Voli v Inglewood Shire Council
Stage collapsed in Hall.
- Extends DOC to architects
- Holds forseeable that stage would be used for number of reasons
- Holds you cannot "pass the buck" - 1st wrongdoer not absolved because of subsequent wrongdoers
Clay v A.J. Crump
Wall falls onto builder's smoko hut, after being assessed by a number of people.
- Architects, contractors all owe duty of care, but not owner - as he had NO EXPERTISE.
- Similar to Voli - cannot pass the buck - all 3 groups jointly liable