Vaughan v. Menlove
English Court - 1837
- D built a hay rick near P's property. P warned D that the hay rick was too close to the cottage and that it was likely to catch fire.
- D responded that he would chance it. The hay rick did indeed catch fire and burnt down P's cottage.
- P sued D for damages in negligence for maintaining the rick in a dangerous condition. The jury was instructed to use the reasonable man standard.
- D argued that the court should have instructed based upon good faith and best judgment.
- Trial court found for P.
- English Court affirmed, found for P.
- What is the standard of care used to determine if negligence is present?
- The standard of care used in negligence cases is that of a reasonable person in similar circumstances.
- The standard has always been the reasonable man standard, not a subjective one as requested by D.
- While somewhat vague, juries have always been able to decipher what it means.
- "Average reasonable man of ordinary prudence under similar circumstances"