Torts II, Pages 760–761

Golden v. Armory

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 1952


Defendants owned a hydroelectric plant which overflowed and damaged plaintiffs real estate as a result of a hurricane.

Procedural History:

Trial judge directed a verdict for defendants concerning whether they had a permit for the dike. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs, but the judge entered a verdict for defendants.


Are defendants strictly liable for their dike flooding?

Plaintiff's Argument:


The Rylands rule does not apply to acts of God which the owner had no reason to anticipate, which the hurricane was.


No, strict liability does not apply. Affirmed.


There is no strict liability for an unforeseeable act of God.