Torts I, Pages 426–428

Winterbottom v. Wright

Exchequer of Pleas, 1842


Defendant, a mail coach manufacturer and repairer, contracted with the Postmaster General to keep the coaches in a safe and secure condition. Plaintiff was a mail coach driver injured with a coach broke down due to lack of repair.


Did defendant owe a duty to plaintiff to upkeep the coach?


A tort action based on an injury resulting from violation of a contract cannot be upheld if plaintiff was not a party to the contract.


If a contract was not needed, too many people could potentially sue people like defendant. Defendant therefore owed no duty to plaintiff.


Defendant owed plaintiff no duty to upkeep the coach. Judgment for the defendant.