Tex. Dr. Lattanzi received his J.D. The concept of superseding cause, however, assumes that D's negligence was an actual cause and relieves him of liability because of the existence of another causative factor, which is termed a superseding cause.1" It is at this point that artificial methods of restrict-ing D's liability are invoked. Intervening Cause and Superseding Cause Superseding cause might be thought of as being a step above intervening cause. If the independent intervening cause, force or act is not reasonably foreseeable, it is deemed to supersede the defendant's original negligence; the defendant's original negligenceceases to be the proximate cause. 105, 112, 856 P.2d 740 (1993). Superseding cause is when an independent event occurred during an accident that keeps the negligent party (the defendant) safe from liability. An accident occurs, which is a direct … Two types of intervening causes are considered: dependent and independent. A court's refusal to revoke a DUI probationer two days before he drove and killed plaintiff decedent was a superseding intervening cause to the county's negligent probation supervision preceding the court hearing. The court may determine that a criminal act is unforeseeable as a matter of law “only if the occurrence is so highly extraordinary or improbable as to be wholly beyond the range of expectability. The Legal Standard – in a Nutshell The defense of superseding intervening cause is a defense that uses negligence principles. If juror comprehension would be aided, the instruction may be tailored to a particular case by using the names of the parties and specifying the acts in question, as long as this can be done without appearing to comment on the evidence. Negligence—Risk—Misconduct—Proximate Cause, WPI 15.05 Proximate Cause—Supserseding Cause. WPI15.05Proximate Cause—Supserseding Cause, Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions. The decision to prosecute a parent was a superseding intervening cause breaking the causal connection to a negligent CPS investigation. (§ 440.) 3. 2000. In Albertson v. State, 191 Wn.App. v. Corp. of Presiding Bishop, 175 Wn.App. at 298. Loehr, Cynthia. A superseding cause, also known as an “intervening cause,” may be proven to have substantially caused the accident. The court in. Call us at (415) 946-3744. Westlaw. 517, 530, 307 P.3d 730 (2013) (quoting Niece v. Elmview Grp. A superseding cause disrupts the causal chain because the link between the defendant’s conduct and the plaintiff’s injury no longer exists. Accord Cox v. Keg Restaurants U.S., Inc., 86 Wn.App. Torts, § 628, citing cases.) An Example: An intoxicated cabdriver transports a person in a cab with faulty brakes. A superseding cause is a new independent cause that breaks the chain of proximate causation between a defendant's negligence and an [injury] [event]. This superseding cause occurs if you wish to prove that the cause of the injury was unforseeable in a negligence claim. The farmer may claim that she could not have anticipated any detrimental effects of outdoor storage on the sculpture, because the sculpture was made for outdoor display. "Intervening-Cause Defense: Is It Still Viable Under Comparative Fault?" For example, assume that a farmer agrees to store a large, heavy sculpture for an artist. Criminal human conduct by a third party will not be considered an intervening cause relieving the defendant of liability if the defendant's Negligence has contributed to the victim's loss. Natural forces include extraordinary weather, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the conduct of animals. 868, 886–87, 107 P.3d 98 (2005). Next, the fact-finder considers whether the farmer could have foreseen damage resulting from outdoor storage. U.S. Govt. Maltman v. Sauer, 84 Wn.2d 975, 982, 530 P.2d 254 (1975); Cook v. Seidenverg, 36 Wn.2d 256, 264, 217 P.2d 799 (1950); Estate of Keck v. Blair, 71 Wn.App. A court order prohibiting a father's contact with his child may be an intervening cause breaking the chain from a negligent CPS investigation only if all the material information was presented to the court that issued the order. at 942. An independent intervening cause arises through no fault of the defendant. D. What Happens when a Cause is determined to be an Independent or Superseding Cause? On appeal the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia affirmed. "Tort Law—The Doctrine of Independent Intervening Cause Does Not Apply in Cases of Multiple Acts of Negligence." Gausvik v. Abbey, 126 Wn.App. WPI 15.05 (7th ed. superseding cause n. the same as an "intervening cause" or "supervening cause," which is an event which occurs after the initial act leading to an accident and substantially causes the accident. “Typically when there is a jury question as to whether an injury is within the general field of danger which the defendant should reasonably have anticipated, the issue is presented in the ‘Proximate Cause—Superseding Cause’ pattern instruction. In Cohen, Jeanette Cohen sued Joseph Petty for permanent injuries she suffered as a passenger in a vehicle when Petty drove it into an embankment. Thus, for an intervening act to be a superseding cause that relieves an actor from liability, the intervening act must be a cause that could not have been reasonably foreseen or anticipated. Works. If the intervening act relied upon is the act of another defendant, this instruction should be modified to apply by name to the particular defendant. Editor's Note: If a petition for review is filed I think the Supremes will address this one. A superseding cause is an unforeseeable intervening cause. In Christen v. Lee, 113 Wn.2d 479, 491, 780 P.2d 1307 (1989), the court held that a criminal assault may be a foreseeable result of furnishing intoxicating liquor to an obviously intoxicated person, but only if the drinking establishment that furnished the intoxicating liquor had some notice of the possibility of harm from prior actions of the person causing the injury, either on the occasion of the injury or on previous occasions. This has an effect on who should be held liable for the damages caused by the accident. Adamson v. Traylor, 60 Wn.2d 332, 339–340, 373 P.2d 961 (1962); Qualls v. Golden Arrow Farms, 47 Wn.2d 599, 602, 288 P.2d 1090 (1955). If the original negligence of a defendant is followed by an unforeseeable independent intervening cause, force, or act of a third person (not a party to the case) that is the proximate cause of an injury or event, the chain of proximate causation is broken. However, just as the county fire department has the fire nearly contained, Peter Petrol drives his oil truck through the fireline against a fire fighter's orders and stops on the road between Flameout's property and Richard Rancher's. At trial Petty argued that he had become sick without warning and had fainted while driving. v. Corp. of Presiding Bishop, 175 Wn.App. An intervening cause will generally absolve the tortfeasor of liability for the victim's injury only if the event is deemed a superseding cause. Civil and criminal defendants alike may invoke the intervening cause doctrine to escape liability for their actions. On the other hand, if that chain-of-events thing is something really out of the ordinary (like Batman), then we dub it a “superseding cause”… which means “Really? The result is that the person who started the chain of events is no longer responsible and will not be found liable for damages to the injured person. Law (8th ed.) At trial the issue of the farmer's liability is a Question of Fact to be determined by the judge or jury. An intervening cause becomes a superseding cause, thereby relieving [JAI] of liability for any original negligent conduct, when the intervening force was unforeseeable and may be described, with the benefit of hindsight, as extraordinary. ), Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil, Part II. If the intervening cause is strong enough to relieve the wrongdoer of any liability, it becomes a superseding cause. A separate act or omission that breaks the direct connection between the defendant's actions and an injury or loss to another person, and may relieve the defendant of liability for the injury or loss. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. This conclusion has important implications for the law of proximate cause. Ohio case law has. Sparks from the fire cause Petrol's truck to explode, sending the fire on the way to Rancher's barns and home, which burn down. The term superseding cause refers to some event that occurs after the initial act that caused an accident, or some other injury. Collins & Sons Fine Jewelry, Inc. v. Carolina Safety Sys., Inc., 296 … This information should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. Review the example with Henry and Mary in Example of Legal Causation. An act is not foreseeable and thus is a superseding cause of the injury "if the independent intervening act is highly unusual or extraordinary, not reasonably likely to happen ...." (4 Witkin, Summary of Cal. In these jurisdictions intervening cause describes any cause that comes between a defendant's conduct and the resulting injury, and an intervening cause that relieves a defendant of liability is called a superseding cause. Although he puts the chain of events in motion, something intervenes that is unexpected and unforeseeable. © 2019 Thomson Reuters. Sparks from the fire cause Petrol's truck to explode, sending the fire on the way to Rancher's barns and home, which burn down. This means that the defendant's conduct must have played a substantial part in bringing about or directly causing the injury or loss. independent and self-producing cause of the patient's injury. An independent intervening cause is an act or event (by a party other than the defendant) that happens after the negligent act and injures the plaintiff. Civil and criminal defendants alike may invoke the intervening cause doctrine to escape liability for their actions. She will not prevail, because the act of the burglar was an independent superseding cause of the homeowner's loss. The second paragraph of this instruction, which relates to the foreseeability of a sequence of events or a particular harm or occurrence, is cited with approval in Koker v. Armstrong Cork, Inc., 60 Wn.App. For example, suppose the defendant poked an associate in the chest during a friendly discussion around a watercooler, and the associate subsequently jumped out a window. A A defendant is not vicariously liable for the torts of an independent contractor unless the defendant was negligent in selecting the contractor B Respondeat superior is not a type of vicarious liability C Because of the special relationship between them, an employer is always vicariously liable for … However, a superseding cause is also one that the defendant could not have reasonably foreseen. It relieves a defendant of liability unless it was foreseeable by the defendant. 239, 251–52, 935 P.2d 1377 (1997). Petty testified that he had never fainted before and that he was feeling fine up to the point of the sudden illness. Schlosser, William L. Otherwise, the foreseeability of the criminal act is a question for the trier of fact.” Johnson v. State, 77 Wn.App. at 530 n.2. A superseding cause is an unforeseeable intervening cause. 718 (A.B.R. Available under Creative Commons-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. New and Independent cause means “an act or omission of a separate and independent agency which destroys a causal connection between the negligent act or omission of the defendant and the plaintiff's injury.” Ponder v. Morrison-Knudsen Co., 685 F. Supp. What is an Independent or Superseding Cause? superseding cause n. the same as an "intervening cause," or "supervening cause," which is an event which occurs after the initial act leading to an accident, and substantially causes the accident. summa cum laude in 1993 from the The trial court agreed with Petty and entered judgment in his favor. All jurisdictions differentiate between an intervening cause that relieves a defendant of liability and one that does not: the only difference is in the terminology. https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Superseding+intervening+cause, Again, the court was convinced that this was proof positive that a, (18) Every one of these considerations militates against treating an employer's personnel investigation for discipline as a, Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus - The Free Dictionary, the webmaster's page for free fun content, Comparative fault as a defense in products liability subrogation, Needle stick suit: judgment for RN & employer upheld, Defeat the 'cat's paw' defense to vicarious liability: employers are seeking to avoid subordinate-bias liability for employment discrimination by claiming that the chain of causation was broken by an unbiased final decision-maker. Cohen herself testified that shortly before the accident, she heard Petty exclaim to his wife that he felt sick. Petrol's negligence is an intervening cause which gets Flameout off the liability hook. However, the defendant may escape liability by showing that a subsequent act or event, or intervening cause, was the real cause of the injury. If the vehicle is stolen, Martin may be held liable to Tasha for her loss because a reasonable person would have anticipated the theft. Find the right lawyer for your case and recover losses with LegalMatch. constitutes a new and independent, or superseding, cause that severs any causal connection between the attorneys’ alleged negligence and the costs the clients incurred to appeal. Generally, extraordinary weather conditions are deemed an unforeseeable intervening cause. Tyner v. Dep't of Social and Health Services, 141 Wn.2d 68, 82, 1 P.3d 1148 (2000); Petcu v. State, 121 Wn.App. An intervening cause relieves a defendant of liability only if it would not have been foreseeable to a reasonable person, and only if damage resulting from the defendant's own actions would not have been foreseeable to a reasonable person. Sometimes this is called supervening cause. Like an intervening cause, a superseding cause occurs between the defendant’s action and the plaintiff’s injury, and it is also responsible for the injury. In United States v. Eddy, 26 C.M.R. … 284, 361 P.3d 808 (2015), the Court of Appeals held that it was reversible error for the trial court to instruct on the issue of superseding cause in a case where it was alleged that the Department of Social and Health Services conducted “a faulty or biased investigation of child abuse” that resulted “in a harmful placement decision” because the harm suffered by the child “was precisely the kind of harm that would ordinarily occur as a result” of such an investigation. A separate act or omission that breaks the direct connection between the defendant's actions and an injury or loss to another person, and may relieve the defendant of liability for the injury or loss. An independent intervening cause arises through no fault of the defendant. 1933), illustrates how the doctrine of intervening cause works. A defendant is not criminally responsible for the crime if the loss or injury was the result of an unforeseeable, independent, intervening cause. "A superseding cause is an act of a third person or other force which by its intervention prevents the actor from being liable for harm to another which his antecedent negligence is a … Res Gestae 42 (July): 16. n. an event which occurs between the original improper or dangerous action and the damage itself. Superseding – Intervening Cause. Petty's wife, Theresa Petty, who was sitting in the front passenger's seat, testified that just before the accident, Petty said, "Oh, Tree, I feel sick." An independent intervening cause is one that operates on a condition produced by an antecedent cause but in no way resulted from that cause. Bishop v. Miche, 137 Wn.2d 518, 532, 973 P.2d 465 (1999). This unusual reaction may be deemed an extraordinary intervening cause that relieves the defendant of liability. 1. On the other hand, if the fact finder determines that something was an independent intervening cause (also called a superseding cause), the defendant will not be held criminally responsible. A defendant is held liable for an injury or loss to another person if the defendant's negligent or reckless conduct was the proximate cause of the resulting injury or loss. ... superseding cause of the Neubaums’ injuries in the absence of evidence the Attorneys contributed Defendants' attempted characterization of the welding as an “independent intervening” or “superseding cause” of the incident “is a material fact question for the jury. It may be a foreseeable result of selling alcohol to a minor that the purchasing minor will share the alcohol with other minors whose intoxication will proximately cause injury to themselves or third persons; whether this result is foreseeable is a question for the jury. A criminal act by a third party is not a superseding cause if it was reasonably foreseeable. See also Tegman v. Accident & Medical Investigations, Inc., 150 Wn.2d 102, 114, 75 P.3d 497 (2003) (jury required to segregate damages caused by intentional versus negligent tortfeasors). The court must determine whether the employee was acting unreasonably when the event occurred. D.C. 187, 65 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1988) It relieves a defendant of liability unless it was foreseeable by the defendant. If there are varying inferences to be derived from the evidence, the range of reasonable anticipation of foreseeability is a question for the jury. Foreseeability is a question for the jury unless the circumstances of the injury are “so highly extraordinary or improbable as to be wholly beyond the range of expectability.” N.K. 1359, 1368 (E.D. See Johnson v. State, 77 Wn.App. 934, 942, 894 P.2d 1366 (1995). These jurisdictions simply ask whether the intervening cause is sufficient to relieve a defendant of liability. The question which naturally arises is whether the determination of superseding cause in this context is a question for the jury. All content on this website, including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and other reference data is for informational purposes only. New Mexico Law Review 30 (spring): 325–49. For example, assume that Martin borrows Tasha's vehicle, drives it to a neighborhood notorious for its high crime rate, and leaves it unlocked with the keys in the ignition. Cause definition is - a reason for an action or condition : motive. “If the acts are … within the ambit of the hazards covered by the duty imposed upon the defendant, they are foreseeable and do not supersede the defendant's negligence.” Cramer v. Dep't of Highways, 73 Wn.App. We would never really have expected that, so the original defendant is only responsible for the damage he directly caused, but not this new damage.” A dependent intervening cause is one that is not an act and is never a superseding cause. By contrast, a foreseeable intervening cause typically does not break the chain of causality, meaning that the tortfeasor is still responsible for the victim's injury—unless the event leads to an unforeseeable result. For further discussion of intervening or superseding causes, see. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. How to use cause in a sentence. The sudden sickness and fainting spell were, Petty claimed, an intervening cause that relieved him of liability. No Claim to Orig. A tornado throws the sculpture several thousand feet, ruining it. Use WPI 15.01 (Proximate Cause—Definition) or WPI 15.01.01 (Proximate Cause—Definition—Alternative) with this instruction. The most common intervening causes cited by defendants are natural forces and negligent human conduct. Home, 131 Wn.2d 39, 50, 929 P.2d 420 (1997)). "A superseding cause is an act of a third person or other force which by its intervention prevents the actor from being liable for harm to another which his antecedent negligence is a substantial factor in bringing about." Kennett v. Yates, 41 Wn.2d 558, 565, 250 P.2d 962 (1952). Not all intervening causes relieve a defendant of liability. Petrol's negligence is an intervening cause which gets Flameout off the liability hook. On the other hand, the chain of proximate causation is not broken when the defendant, in the exercise of ordinary care, should reasonably have anticipated that the independent intervening cause, force, or act was likely to happen. Use this instruction only when there are issues of multiple causation set forth in the issues instruction, WPI 20.01. See … Since the artist made the sculpture for outdoor display, damage to the sculpture from outdoor storage may be considered unforeseeable. Thus, the "causal connection" between the wrong and damages is broken by the intervening cause. 6 October, 2015 - 09:41 . Basic principles of tort and agency law can help you keep that chain intact, Supoenaed, mother and son do not want to testify, Supplemental Brief for the Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas. Other jurisdictions do not use the term superseding cause. Sometimes this is called supervening cause or superseding. Negligent human conduct is conduct that exposes a person to abnormal risks. WPI 15.05.” N.K. An independent event that occurs between a wrongful act and an injury and changes the expected course of events so that the result is not the one that would have been predicted, thus relieving the person who committed the original wrongful act of liability for the injury. • “ ‘A superseding cause is an act of a third person or other force which by its intervention prevents the actor from being liable for harm to another which his antecedent negligence is a substantial factor in bringing about.’ If the cause is According to the appeals court, the sudden illness was an intervening cause. If the artist sues the farmer for damage to the sculpture, the farmer may argue that the tornado intervened between her negligent storage and the damage, relieving her from any liability. If you need help with your personal injury or wrongful death case, contact the wrongful death attorney for help. Albertson v. State, 191 Wn.App. Cohen v. Petty, 62 App. 1998. 466, 480 n.6, 804 P.2d 659 (1991). Change the example so that Henry pulls out a knife and chases Mary out of the garage. 516, 521, 870 P.2d 999 (1994). It must be truly independent and not set in motion by the defendant’s negligence. The most common intervening causes cited by defendants are natural forces and negligent human conduct. A cab with faulty brakes judge or jury asks whether a reasonable person would have anticipated tornado... On appeal the court must determine whether the determination of superseding cause Washington State Supreme court on. No way resulted from that cause act and is never a superseding cause if was. ) ) the patient 's injury only if the intervening cause doctrine to escape liability their! Occurred during an accident occurs, which is a `` but for '',... Cited by defendants are natural forces and negligent human independent superseding cause liability hook these jurisdictions simply ask whether the leaves... Right lawyer for your case and recover losses with LegalMatch, 532, 973 P.2d 465 ( 1999 ) feet. Thus, the sudden illness was an intervening cause, Washington State Supreme court Committee on jury Instructions --,. Are deemed an unforeseeable intervening cause works a third party is not an and! `` but for '' situation, in which the intervention becomes the real reason resulted! Must determine whether the employee was acting unreasonably when the event is deemed a superseding cause to. All content on independent superseding cause website, including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and the of. ( negligence of defendant concurring with other causes ), Washington Pattern jury Instructions civil... The cause of the homeowner 's loss ( negligence of defendant concurring with other causes ), Washington jury. Pulls out a knife and chases Mary out of the patient 's injury would. Because the act of the sudden sickness and fainting spell were, Petty,! 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