In re Arbitration Between Polemis and Ferness, Withy & Co.
COA England - 1921
Ds rented a vessel from P to carry cargo consisting of benzine or petrol in cases.
A heavy plank fell into the hold, created a spark, and caused an explosion which destroyed the vessel.
Ps sued D in negligence for the cost of the vessel.
Lower court found for P.
If the negligent act might cause damage but is of a different kind than what one would expect, is D liable for this damage?
If the D's act would or might probably cause damage, the fact that the damage it causes is not the exact kind of damage one would expect is immaterial, as long as the damage is in fact directly traceable to the negligent act, and not due to the operation of independent causes.
The fact that the exact operation of the damage was not foreseen is not material if the negligence would probably cause damage and the harm was the direct result of the negligent act.
The damages claimed are not too remote.
The damage was a direct result of the negligence of the Ds.
Consequences which follow in unbroken sequence, without an intervening efficient cause, from the original negligent act are natural and proximate.