Torts II, Pages 758–759

Foster v. Preston Mill Co.

Supreme Court of Washington, 1954

Facts:

Defendant's blasting scared plaintiff's mink and caused it to kill her kittens.

Procedural History:

Trial court granted plaintiff judgment of $1,953.68 based on strict liability.

Issue:

LexisNexis IconWestLaw LogoGoogle Scholar LogoPage 758, Paragraph 3

[W]hether, on these facts, the judgment against appellant is sustainable on the theory of absolute liability.

Rule:

LexisNexis IconWestLaw LogoGoogle Scholar LogoPage 758, Bottomish

"Except as stated in §§ 521-4, one who carries on an ultrahazardous activity is liable to another whose person, land or chattels the actor should recognize as likely to be harmed by the unpreventable miscarriage of the activity for harm resulting thereto from that which makes the activity ultrahazardous, although the utmost care is exercised to prevent the harm."

Reasoning:

  • LexisNexis IconWestLaw LogoGoogle Scholar LogoPage 759, Paragraph 3

    We have found nothing in the decisional law which would support an affirmative answer to this question. The decided cases, as well as common experience, indicate that the thing which makes blasting ultrahazardous is the risk that property or persons may be damaged or injured by coming into direct contact with flying debris, or by being directly affected by vibrations of the earth or concussions of the air.

  • LexisNexis IconWestLaw LogoGoogle Scholar LogoPage 759, Paragraph 5

    It is the exceedingly nervous disposition of mink, rather than the normal risks inherent in blasting operations, which therefore must, as a matter of sound policy, bear the responsibility for the loss here sustained.

Holding:

No, strict liability does not apply here. Reversed.

Like my site?
Slightly less broke than the average law student?
Want to give me money for some reason?

I accept donations!

(Don't feel bad if you don't) (Not tax-deductible)