One of the most discussed and controversially interpreted cases used in the academic study of tort law is the case of Helen Palsgraf v. The Long Island Railroad Company, as argued in the Court of Appeals of New York (the highest state court in New York) in 1928. It has been used in years since to illustrate principles in tort law having to do with negligence, particularly the concepts of duty, proximate cause and foreseeability.
The case was decided in a 4-3 decision by the court against the Appellant (Mrs. Palsgraf). The review of the bizarre events that took place in the station is brief, and Chief Justice Cardozo writes the opinion of the majority which becomes the “law” that is to be extracted from this case.
The dissenting opinion, written by Justice Andrews, represents the minority of the court who disagreed with the court’s decision.
Write a paper addressing the following questions:
Be sure to discuss how the two opinions (Cardozo and Andrews) differ on these questions.
1) How is legal duty to be imposed on the defendant? How is the extension of legal duty determined?
2) What does the principle of foreseeability have to do with whether or not liability for negligence exists? What is ultimately necessary in order to show that the defendant is liable to the plaintiff for negligence?
- Write this as a narrative, academic paper; NOT a case brief.
- Generally use an APA Format style for references and citation formatting. (If you do not know what that is, look it up.) That means no footnotes. Most of what that means for this paper is stated below.
- Provide one additional reference and include the case itself, for a total of two references. When citing a web reference be sure to give title, author, publication, etc.; as well as the URL. Just the URL alone will not be enough.
- Paper should be typed, double-spaced with cover page and reference page. Approximately 6 pages should suffice (not including the cover page and reference page.)
- Cite your references within the text of your paper following those items that require reference, and enclose your reference in parentheses; i.e., (Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad, 248 N.Y. 339). NO footnotes.
- Your second reference should be from a secondary source; i.e., an article or book about the case, or referring to the case in discussing similar issues or circumstances, etc. Be sure it is a reliable, academically acceptable source. PLEGAL 1