Blyth v. Birmingham Waterworks Co.
English Court - 1856
- D installed the water mains on the street where P lived.
- One of the plugs on the pipes sprang a leak because of a severe winter frost. The pipes were over 25 years old.
- Water seeped through P's house and caused damage.
- P sued D for negligence.
- Trial court found for P.
- English Court reversed, remanded.
- Can a person avoid liability in negligence if he takes precautions that conform to the standard followed by a reasonable person?
- A person can avoid liability in negligence if he takes precautions that conform to the standard followed by a reasonable person.
- Negligence is the omission of an action that a reasonable person would do or performing an action that a reasonable person would not do.
- The D was not negligent because it followed the precautions that reasonable people would have followed.
- The incident was due to a very severe frost that had not been seen in years.
- The circumstances constituted a contingency against which no reasonable man would have provided.
- This was an unfortunate accident only, not negligence.
- The town had not suffered such an extreme frost in a long time.
- A reasonable person could not foresee this type of winter frost. (objective standard)