Torts I

Spano v. Perini Corp.

Court of Appeals of New York, 1969


The defendants were contracted to construct a tunnel for New York City. On the day in question, they set off 194 sticks of dynamite to do so at a construction site 125 feet from Spano's garage, which contained Davis's car. Both the garage and the car sustained major damage. No negligence in these blasts was shown.

Procedural History:

Defendant won initially.


Can a person who has sustained property damage caused by blasting on nearby property maintain an action for damages without a showing that the blaster was negligent?

Plaintiff's Argument:

Defendant should be absolutely liable for any damage caused by their blasting.

Defendant's Argument:

Defendant should not be liable because no negligence or physical intrusion onto property has been committed, a standard set in Booth v. Rome.


Someone who inflicts damage as a result of blasting should be liable for it.


Defendants caused the damage and thus have more reason to be liable for it than the innocent defendants.


Yes, Booth was wrong. Case remanded to confirm evidence of damages.


Some acts come with strict liability for resulting harms.


Even with absolute liability, you still have to prove causation.