Rylands v. Fletcher
Court of Exchequer, England - 1865
- D owned a mill. In order to supply it with water, they leased some land from Lord Wilton and built a reservoir on it.
- D employed an engineer and contractor to build the reservoir.
- The reservoir was built upon P's mine and eventually caused the mine to flood.
- D was not negligent in building the mine; the engineer and contractor were.
- P sued D under a strict liability theory.
- First English Court found for P.
- Court of Exchequer affirmed, found for P.
- Court of Exchequer Chamber affirmed, found for P.
- Is a D liable under strict liability for harm resulting from the abnormal or non-natural use of land?
- A D is strictly liable for harm resulting from the abnormal or non-natural use of land.
- Even if a D is found strictly liable because of harm resulting from non-natural use, D may excuse himself by showing that the P caused the harm or that the harm was caused by an act of God.
- Courts in US still follow this rule.