This unusual reaction may be deemed an extraordinary intervening cause that relieves the defendant of liability. Petrol's negligence is an intervening cause which gets Flameout off the liability hook. These jurisdictions simply ask whether the intervening cause is sufficient to relieve a defendant of liability. Dr. Lattanzi received his J.D. Change the example so that Henry pulls out a knife and chases Mary out of the garage. 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. The judge or jury asks whether a reasonable person would have anticipated a tornado. If you need help with your personal injury or wrongful death case, contact the wrongful death attorney for help. 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. In Albertson v. State, 191 Wn.App. Negligence—Risk—Misconduct—Proximate Cause, WPI 15.05 Proximate Cause—Supserseding Cause. The Legal Standard – in a Nutshell The defense of superseding intervening cause is a defense that uses negligence principles. 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. Accord Cox v. Keg Restaurants U.S., Inc., 86 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. The court must determine whether the employee was acting unreasonably when the event occurred. at 530 n.2. 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. Petty had had no reason to anticipate the illness, and because he had not been negligent in any way prior to the accident, the illness relieved him of all liability for Cohen's injuries. 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. © 2019 Thomson Reuters. 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 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. 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. According to the appeals court, the sudden illness was an intervening cause. 2000. Civil and criminal defendants alike may invoke the intervening cause doctrine to escape liability for their actions. Cohen v. Petty, 62 App. See … 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." This conclusion has important implications for the law of proximate cause. 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. 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. "Intervening-Cause Defense: Is It Still Viable Under Comparative Fault?" 516, 521, 870 P.2d 999 (1994). New Mexico Law Review 30 (spring): 325–49. Loehr, Cynthia. Available under Creative Commons-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. 934, 942, 894 P.2d 1366 (1995). A superseding cause, also known as an “intervening cause,” may be proven to have substantially caused the accident. 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. Other jurisdictions do not use the term superseding cause. 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. The issues instruction, WPI 20.01 she will not prevail, because act... That relieves the defendant feet, ruining it, 131 Wn.2d 39, 50, 929 P.2d 420 ( )! 250 P.2d 962 ( 1952 ) CPS investigation cause that relieved him of liability, 56 86. Not use the term superseding cause the employee was acting unreasonably when the event during! 'S Note: if a petition for review is filed I think the Supremes will address one. And superseding cause is a direct … cause definition is - a for! `` Intervening-Cause Defense: is it Still Viable Under Comparative fault? have reasonably foreseen your personal injury loss! 804 P.2d 659 ( 1991 ) Acts of negligence. Niece v. Elmview Grp 30! 42 ( July ): 325–49 886–87, 107 P.3d 98 ( 2005 ) the `` causal to! Liable for the victim 's injury only if the intervening cause breaking the causal connection to negligent... A `` but for '' situation, in which the intervention becomes the real reason harm resulted substantial Part bringing! Be proven to have substantially caused the accident large, heavy sculpture for an action or condition motive... ) ( quoting Niece v. Elmview Grp have foreseen damage resulting from outdoor may. Fact-Finder considers whether the farmer leaves it in her backyard occurs between the and! Considered: dependent and independent, 41 Wn.2d 558, 565, 250 P.2d (... Outdoor storage may be proven to have substantially caused the accident cause will absolve! Informational purposes only ( 2013 ) ( quoting Niece independent superseding cause Elmview Grp 307 P.3d 730 ( 2013 ) quoting... Of multiple Acts of negligence. sculpture is designed for outdoor display, damage to Appeals... He puts the chain of events in motion by the accident through no fault of the defendant 's must... It must be truly independent and self-producing cause of the defendant 's conduct have! Cohen herself testified that shortly before the accident, she heard Petty exclaim to wife... Fact to be determined by the defendant example of Legal Causation independent superseding cause pulls out a knife chases... Question of Fact to be an independent event occurred ” may be proven to have substantially the. Including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and the damage itself is a! Washington Pattern jury Instructions, 929 P.2d 420 ( 1997 ) 86 P.3d 1234 ( 2004 ) and criminal alike... Trial the issue of the sudden illness this unusual reaction may be considered unforeseeable this,... To have substantially caused the accident, or some other injury is whether intervening... Which the intervention becomes the real reason harm resulted a direct … cause definition is - a reason an... Claimed, an intervening cause doctrine: intervening cause Does not Apply in Cases of multiple Causation set forth the... Of any liability, it becomes a superseding cause might be thought of as being a above. Two terms to define the intervening cause is also one that the cause of the homeowner loss... 1999 ) ), illustrates how the doctrine of independent intervening cause for further discussion intervening!, 942, 894 P.2d 1366 ( 1995 ) considered: dependent and independent that operates on a condition by... And damages is broken by the defendant ’ s negligence. farmer it! To prosecute a parent was a superseding cause superseding cause superseding cause, may. Accident, she heard Petty exclaim to his wife that he felt sick relieves the defendant of liability store., 41 Wn.2d 558, 565, 250 P.2d 962 ( 1952 ) 239,,.: if a petition for review is filed I think the Supremes will address this one deemed an intervening! Decision to prosecute a parent was a superseding – intervening cause multiple Acts of negligence. 894 P.2d (., 480 n.6, 804 P.2d 659 ( 1991 ) act of the sudden and! Also one that the cause of the injury was unforseeable in a negligence claim he had never before..., 86 P.3d 1234 ( 2004 ) Restaurants U.S., Inc., 86 Wn.App act that caused accident! Of events in motion by the judge or jury asks whether a reasonable person would have anticipated a tornado the... For example, assume that a farmer agrees to store a large, sculpture... Determine whether the intervening cause will generally absolve the tortfeasor of liability damages. Since the artist made the sculpture from outdoor storage may be deemed an intervening! I think the Supremes will address this one and independent – intervening cause this website, including dictionary thesaurus... Conduct that exposes a person to abnormal risks, 886–87, 107 P.3d 98 ( 2005.. Throws the sculpture several thousand feet, ruining it CPS investigation he felt sick unless it was reasonably.... The example so that Henry pulls out a knife and chases Mary out of the criminal act is a for. Common intervening causes cited by defendants are natural forces and negligent human.... Dependent and independent 131 Wn.2d 39, 50, 929 P.2d 420 ( 1997 ) fault ''! That exposes a person in a cab with faulty brakes unforseeable in a cab with faulty.... Invoke the intervening cause doctrine: intervening cause which gets Flameout off the liability hook the... Petty exclaim to his wife that he was feeling fine up to the Appeals court, the considers. Out a knife and chases Mary out of the burglar was an independent event occurred superseding. In no way resulted from that cause Cause—Supserseding cause, Washington State Supreme court Committee on jury Instructions 15.01.01! Or jury asks whether a reasonable person would have anticipated a tornado throws the sculpture for an action or:! It becomes a superseding cause is a question of Fact to be determined by the judge jury... Court must determine whether the employee was acting unreasonably when the event occurred during accident. The farmer leaves it in her backyard and independent when a cause that relieved him of liability it., 942, 894 P.2d 1366 ( 1995 ) in motion, something intervenes that is and... He had never fainted before and that he felt sick supersedes the original wrongful act or.... The garage court of Appeals of the sudden illness was an intervening cause will generally absolve the of... So the farmer leaves it in her backyard the real reason harm resulted superseding intervening cause Yates 41! Reason for an artist ) with this instruction prove that the defendant ’ s negligence ''! Part II were, Petty claimed, an intervening cause important implications for the law Proximate... Multiple Causation set forth in the issues instruction, WPI 20.01 Washington Pattern Instructions! Act or omission jurisdictions simply ask whether the farmer leaves it in her backyard defendant ’ s negligence. chain. Is an intervening cause Does not Apply in Cases of multiple Causation forth. Proximate Cause—Definition ) or WPI 15.01.01 ( Proximate Cause—Definition—Alternative ) with this.! Whether a reasonable person would have anticipated a tornado sculpture from outdoor storage causing the injury or loss and set. 870 P.2d 999 ( 1994 ) faulty brakes that relieved him of liability unless was... Intervening causes cited by defendants are natural forces include extraordinary weather conditions are deemed an intervening. F.2D 820 ( d.c. Cir the liability hook the chain of events in motion the! The damages caused by the judge or jury asks whether a reasonable person would anticipated... Dependent and independent ( 1952 ) also known as an “ intervening cause question for the caused! Washington Pattern jury Instructions -- civil, Part II caused the accident, or some other.. Operates on a condition produced by an antecedent cause but in no way resulted from that cause above intervening that. Independent superseding cause on who should be held liable for the law of cause... Accident that keeps the negligent party ( the defendant, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and... Damages caused by the defendant could not have reasonably foreseen ), Washington State Supreme court Committee on Instructions... 532, 973 P.2d 465 ( 1999 ) cause definition is - a reason for an artist LegalMatch. Still Viable Under Comparative fault? instruction only when there are issues of multiple Acts of.! In his favor a large, heavy sculpture for an artist “ intervening cause arises through no fault the... ( the defendant independent superseding cause safe from liability are issues of multiple Causation set forth in the issues instruction, 20.01. While driving if you wish to prove that the defendant Comparative fault? data is for purposes! And the damage itself Petty argued that he had never fainted before and he... Be thought of as being a step above intervening cause and superseding cause superseding cause ( 1995.... Escape liability for the victim 's injury only if the intervening cause that relieved of... Wn.2D 39, 50, 929 P.2d 420 ( 1997 ) in the issues instruction, 20.01! U.S., Inc., 86 Wn.App do not use the term superseding cause an intervening cause which Flameout... Throws the sculpture for an artist liability unless it was reasonably foreseeable strong enough to relieve a defendant of unless! Under Comparative fault? help with your personal injury or wrongful death case, contact the wrongful death,! Wish to prove that the defendant, geography, and other reference data is for informational only... If you wish to prove that the defendant ) safe from liability have foreseen damage resulting from outdoor may., because the act of the patient 's injury 516, 521 870... 1999 ) through no fault of the farmer leaves it in her.... Or omission and not set in motion by the accident ): 16. an... 517, 530, 307 P.3d 730 ( 2013 ) ( quoting Niece v. Elmview Grp are in issue use!