Green v. Pro Football Inc. d/b/a Washington Redskins et al.

As some of you may have heard, former National Football League linebacker Barrett Green recently filed a lawsuit against the Washington Redskins, their former defensive coach Gregg Williams, and former Redskins tight end Robert Royal.

In this lawsuit, Green brings a battery claim against Royal, a resulting vicarious liability claim against the Redskins, and negligence claims against all three defendants. These claims derive from a career-ending knee injury that Green, then a member of the New York Giants, suffered as a result of a hit by Royal in a 2004 game.

According to the complaint, Williams “instructed and/or encouraged” Royal to injure Green as part of an “bounty” program, whereby “Defendant Redskin players were encouraged to intentionally injure opponents so that they would be forced to leave the game.”

I haven’t seen a copy of the complaint elsewhere, so I thought I’d post it here. It’s an interesting case. Though I am certainly no expert in Maryland law, I tend to agree with Professor Gabe Feldman’s analysis that Green will have a tough row to hoe with this lawsuit, due to statute of limitations and causation issues with his claims.

Ninth Circuit Certified Question to the California Supreme Court: Does a Commercial Property Owner Have a Duty to Have an AED Device On-Site?

Earlier today, in Verdugo v. Target Corp., a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (consisting of Judges Berzon, Graber, and Pregerson) certified an interesting question to the California Supreme Court:

In what circumstances, if ever, does the common law duty
of a commercial property owner to provide emergency first
aid to invitees require the availability of an Automatic
External Defibrillator (“AED”) for cases of sudden cardiac
arrest?

The question arises after a 49-year-old man suffered a heart attack at a Target store in California. There was no AED on the premises, and the victim died before paramedics arrived. His next-of-kin sued, alleging that Target was negligent for failing to have an AED device on-site.

The certified question is intriguing, for a number of reasons. For one thing, it presents the issue of whether the plaintiffs’ negligence claim is preempted by a series of state laws that were designed to enhance the availability of AEDs in public venues. The district court held that these statutes occupied the field of AED acquisition and use, and thereby preempted common-law negligence claims such as the plaintiffs’.

But even assuming arguendo that the district court was wrong, and the plaintiffs’ claim isn’t preempted, the case also raises the following, even more interesting issues:

First, if such a common-law duty exists as to at least some “commercial property owners,” which such owners will have such a duty, and which (if any) won’t?

As background, across the country there have been several negligence lawsuits over the past decade in which plaintiffs have attacked the defendants’ lack of an AED device. These suits have produced a range of judicial opinions; some courts have found no duty to possess an AED, while others have spotted a jury question as to whether the lack of an AED, on the facts presented, amounted to a breach of the generic duty of reasonable care. Significantly, most of these cases have involved the absence of these devices in health clubs, a venue where the risk of cardiac arrest would seem to be much higher than in, say, a Bed, Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, or Target. (Insert holiday shopping joke here.)

As the Ninth Circuit’s phrasing (“commercial property owners”) suggests, the Verdugo case can’t be pigeonholed or limited the same way that the health-club cases can. If the California Supreme Court finds a duty owed by Target, it’s also going to be owed by lots and lots of other businesses, as well. Yet over the past couple of decades, the California Supreme Court has been fairly circumspect about extending the duties owed by the class of defendants that the Ninth Circuit describes as “commercial property owners.” Given the court’s recent history, I’d be pretty surprised if it were to grant review and find that any and all retail stores, restaurants, and other commercial establishments–be they a mom-and-pop cafe or a gigantic shopping mall–owe customers, business visitors, and others on the premises a duty to have an AED device present on-site.

But, if the court were inclined to find a duty owed by some establishments, but not others, how to draw the line? By the square footage of the establishment? That’d be way too untethered to the foreseeability of a cardiac arrest, not to mention stupid. Revenues? Ditto. Raw numbers of customers? A little less stupid, but still pretty dumb, and necessitating some rather arbitrary line-drawing to boot. Past experience (or particular business models) that give a specific defendant or class of defendants reason to know that they serve a particularly vulnerable population of clients, customers, or other entrants? Maybe, but outside of settings like hospitals and retirement homes, it’s hard to appreciate how one heart attack at a particular location makes it foreseeable that lightning will strike twice. If the court were to follow the last of these approaches, it might as well say, hey, even assuming a duty of reasonable care, as a general rule, this standard subjects only hospitals, rest homes, and maybe a handful of other distinctive businesses (health clubs? airplanes?) to a viable negligence claim if and when they lack an AED and trained on-site personnel.

Second, if such a duty is found to exist, won’t such a ruling simply kick the can down the road to the inevitable but-for causation issues that would seem to loom large in these cases? Per the Ninth Circuit’s order:

The chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest decreases by 10
percent for every minute that passes before the heart’s rhythm
is restored. Cardiac Arrest Survival Act of 2000, Pub. L. No.
106–505, § 402(5), 114 Stat. 2314. It is estimated that 30
percent of those who experience cardiac arrest could be saved
if an AED were used immediately. Id. § 402(4).

I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on this blog. But at least in a jurisdiction that applies a more-likely-than-not standard to ascertain the essential but-for causation element of a plaintiff’s claim, if a plaintiff’s attorney can’t goose the “immediate AED use” survival rate to significantly higher than just 30 percent in a given case, then her client is going to lose on summary judgment, anyway. A 30 percent “saved” rate for AEDs means a 70 percent “not saved” rate, after all.

***

I don’t know if the California Supreme Court will agree to entertain the certified question, but as someone interested in tort law, I hope that they do.

I also am not very skilled at predicting the outcomes of cases that technically don’t exist yet. As suggested by the text above, however, I believe that if the California Supreme Court grants review, it will reject the position taken by Judge Pregerson in his dissent from the panel’s punt / opinion. Judge Pregerson would find that Target, and many other businesses besides, owe their customers a duty to have AED devices on-site. He reasons:

Purchasing an AED and periodically training an employee on its use is not much of a burden for a large store like the Pico Rivera Target. Providing an AED is an easy and effective way to remedy a grave and foreseeable harm.

Judge Pregerson draws the “foreseeability” portion of his analysis from the observation that 700 people die of cardiac arrest every day. But how many of these people die in commercial establishments like a Target, as opposed to at home, during a jog in the park, in a health club, or in a hospital? And while having an AED on-site might not be a “much of a burden” for a “large store” like a Target, as related above, I doubt that courts or juries can draw a coherent line between “large stores” and “smaller stores” in this context.  Assuming the impossibility of any such line-drawing, I seriously doubt that the California Supreme Court would be inclined to levy a $1,200+ tax on each and every California business–the going rate for AED devices. (This $1,200 figure also doesn’t account for training costs, and the possible need for additional personnel–assuming that the duty that may be recognized by the court entails not only possession of a device, but having employees on duty who are ready and able to use it. The former cost item will probably be pretty low [AED devices are close to idiot-proof], but I’m not so sure that the latter will be.)

Judge Pregerson’s analysis also seems to overstate the utility of AED devices. He writes:

Moreover, if a customer suffers sudden cardiac arrest in the large Pico Rivera Target in an area where paramedics cannot reach her within five minutes, she will likely die unless there is an accessible defibrillator in the store.

(Emphasis added.) The problem with this analysis is that if the statistics quoted earlier in this post (and in the panel opinion) are correct, Pregerson’s hypothetical customer is likely going to die even if there is an accessible defibrillator in the store. To support his causation argument, Pregerson does quote from a legislative report that provides, in pertinent part, when “CPR and AEDs are used within three to five minutes from the onset of collapse, the survival rate of a sudden cardiac arrest victim is as high as 50 to 70 percent.” But even if one treats the phrase “as high as” as giving rise to a jury question, CPR and AED use, combined, is different from AED use, alone. Does there also exist a common-law duty to have all employees trained in, and ready and willing  to use, CPR? For a court that answered this question in the negative, see L.A. Fitness Intern., LLC v. Mayer, 980 So.2d 550 (Fla. App. 2008). (And on this point generally, see the notes following Restatement (Third) of Torts, Liability for Physical and Emotional Harm sec. 40 (2012).) For now, suffice it to say that recognizing an “AED+CPR” duty would represent a nontrivial extension of California negligence law.

In any event, it’s an interesting question that the Ninth Circuit has posed, and one that I doubt we’ve seen the last of in the California case reporters.

 (H/T Michelle Olsen, Appellate Daily)

Annals of Relentless Self-Promotion: Who Shot Charles Summers?

I have posted onto SSRN a draft of my article–OK, “article” is a little generous; “somewhat humorous trifle” is probably more accurate–Who Shot Charles Summers?, which will be published in an upcoming edition of the tremendous, slumming-to-have-me-in-it publication The Green Bag.* The article presents some of the backstory to the case Summers v. Tice, as gleaned from my review of the reporter’s transcript and other court documents.

* SSRN apparently doesn’t recognize The Green Bag as a publication title, so they note that my piece will be published in a forthcoming edition of “The Greenbag.”

Trove (Australia), and Wagon Mound

All zero of my Australian readers certainly know all about this already, but the National Library of Australia’s Trove service offers a very nice, free, searchable collection of old newspapers, photographs, maps, books, etc. Within these resources, one can find, say, old news reports regarding the fire that would lead to the famous Wagon Mound case.

Here is the best story I could find about the fire (a [blurry] photograph also accompanies the article). Meanwhile, two pages later, the same newspaper carried a seemingly unrelated story (to the editors) about how the master of the Wagon Mound was fined 25 pounds for allowing oil to leak from the ship.

The first of these articles contains a few particularly interesting quotes, given how Wagon Mound is relied upon for its discussion of foreseeability. An iron worker is quoted as saying, “We have been expecting a fire here,” and, “It had to come sooner or later with so much oil about.”  Another interview subject relayed a co-worker’s comment that “that oil slick is on fire at last.”

The articles also underscore how the fire was, like Ron Burgundy, a pretty big deal, posing a substantial threat to safety. According to the story, eighty men had to flee the flames, with four jumping in the water (was this a smart idea, under the circumstances?) to get away from the conflagration.

Annals of Relentless Self-Promotion: My Frightened Horses and Autonomous Vehicles Article (2012)

Not that this will, or should, shift headlines away from the NBA Finals or anything, but I just posted onto SSRN a revised version of my article Of Frightened Horses and Autonomous Vehicles: Tort Law and Its Assimilation of Innovations. While this short symposium contribution won’t ever make Fred Shapiro’s list of most-cited articles, it does relate some interesting anecdotes regarding the early interplay between tort law and technologies such as automobiles, airplanes, radio and television, and Tasers. For example:

- Most of the first batch of negligence lawsuits concerning automobiles (circa 1900-1902 or thereabouts) didn’t involve injured auto drivers, passengers, or pedestrians struck by motor cars, but instead raised claims that an automobile, by its nature or particular manner of use, had caused a horse to take fright, leading to injuries to the horse’s rider, persons in a carriage towed by the horse, or the horse itself.

- Judicial opinions in the first few defamation lawsuits to involve words that had been disseminated over television or radio sometimes drew a distinction between defamatory material that had been read from a script (which was treated as libel) and impromptu broadcasted statements (which were treated as slander).

- As late as the late 1920s, treatise writers still suggested that a passenger on a commercial airline might be guilty of contributory negligence if he or she boarded a flight during stormy weather.

The piece ties these anecdotes to a handful of more general points, which overlap to the extent that they all suggest we need to be careful when predicting how the (possible) application of tort law will affect the development and diffusion of innovations.

Alienation of Affections and Tareq Salahi

Earlier this week, Tareq Salahi’s $50 million alienation of affection(s) lawsuit against his wife’s alleged paramour was thrown out of Virginia state court.  With good reason; the state abolished tort claims for alienation of affections (sometimes referred to as “alienation of affection,” dropping the “s”) a few decades ago.

For a more or less moribund tort, at least in most jurisdictions, alienation of affections certainly attracts a lot of attention. I haven’t scanned the web for commentary about the Salahi case, but it seems that anytime there’s a big alienation of affections verdict–almost invariably in North Carolina, these days–it leads to a spurt of blog posts and news articles that all share the general theme, “Gee, isn’t it interesting that this tort still exists?”  It appears that today, many decades after alienation of affections suits first produced breathless commentary in the media (some examples this genre can be found here and here), the sex + money + courts = publicity equation still holds true.

The alienation of affections tort’s relative accessibility to a broad audience, and intrinsic interest to those of us who study tort law, draw academics to the subject, as well. Being somewhat interesting, such that you’re not 100 percent guaranteed to bore the person you’re talking to at a cocktail party when you bring up the subject, it’s sort of the tort professor’s equivalent to the hey-is-that-a-quarter-behind-your-ear parlor trick. Since 2009, the Volokh Conspiracy site has featured at least seven posts discussing the tort (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here); there have been two such posts on Concurring Opinions (here and here), and the TortsProf blog reliably offers updates on recent verdicts and other observations regarding the cause of action (one of which, a Valentine’s Day post last year, was written by me).

Alienation of affections (as well as its companion “heartbalm” torts of criminal conversation, seduction, and breach of promise to marry) also have produced a steady stream of law-review articles over the past few decades, with some professors defending the torts and others praising their demise. Again, it’s not hard to understand our fascination with these causes of action; not only are the heartbalm torts intrinsically a little more interesting than, say, bad-faith refusal to settle claims, but they (and modern campaigns to abolish them) also raise interesting questions regarding the purposes and limits of tort law.   Why shouldn’t someone recover in tort against the person who lured their spouse away? Why should the sordid pedigree of the heartbalm torts affect their modern application? What does it matter that there’s no especially useful guide for damages in these cases? How does one conceptualize the injury in these matters? Is it the place of courts, or legislatures, or both to abolish these torts? You get the idea.

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McDonald’s Obesity Lawsuits, Circa 1880

I don’t think that there are very many truly novel ideas in the law.  Take, for example, the spate of lawsuits a few years ago in which the plaintiffs alleged that McDonald’s had made them fat, justifying an award of damages and/or injunctive relief. (I know the suits were a bit more complicated than this, but you know what I’m talking about.)  Were these suits interesting? Yes. Were they unprecedented? No, not really.

Consider this brief but well-written 1880 article, “Tales of the Civil Damage Law,” which relates the story of an Iowa wife who, frustrated by her husband’s lack of sobriety, invoked a statutory cause of action against several local saloons.  I haven’t looked up the language of the Iowa statute that was involved here, but if it’s anything like other, similar laws from that era that I have seen (like Nebraska’s liquor law), it provided that a wife may sue “for all damages sustained by herself and children on account of” a defendant’s traffic in liquor. Seizing on the language that I just conjured up, the wife claimed that the saloons had transformed her husband into a common drunkard, incapable of supporting her and their family.

According to the piece, some of the saloon owners settled; one took the case to trial and was slapped with a $12,000 judgment.  Summing up the basic theory behind this and other, similar suits, the author wrote, “A wife has, as every one understands, the legal right to be supported by her husband’s earnings; therefore, if drunkenness renders him unfit to work and earn their living, she loses her means of support, and the civil damage law enables her to charge the seller for her loss.”

Like the McDonald’s lawsuits, these support actions attacked the cumulative, deleterious effect of food or drink upon an impaired (or inadequately informed) person. This sort of lawsuit was pretty common a century or more ago, at least in some states (Illinois and Nebraska, most notably). One Chicago church group held training sessions for women to show them how to pursue these claims. These suits seem strange, today; one wonders whether we’ll be talking about the McDonald’s lawsuits in similar terms a century from now.

 

Building One’s Brand: Xenophon Huddy, The Law of Automobiles (1906)

I’ve had other junior law professors tell me that they were conscious of maintaining and building their “brands.” I remain a little confused about the differences between a “brand” and “reputation.” Aside from the more three-dimensional nature of a brand, perhaps another key distinction is this: one’s reputation matters when others think about you; one’s brand also determines how often they think of you.

I don’t remember the specific contexts in which these conversations occurred, but they might have concerned whether the professors were going to write in fields that are somewhat different from the ones that they typically address. I can see how making this leap might affect one’s brand. Just as a baseball player is more likely to make the Hall of Fame if he spends his entire career with a single team, or if he has one dominant attribute such as hitting for power or average (as opposed to a broad skill base, but without a signature talent–and yes, I realize that I’m pretty much drawing straight from Bill James here), I suspect it may help a law professor’s brand to cast her lot with a single area of the law.

One attorney from yesteryear who not only got and read this memo, but also put a TPS report on top of it, was Xenophon Huddy.  Though not a law professor, Huddy saw an opportunity and ran with it.  The opportunity: automobiles.  Huddy graduated from Yale Law School in 1901.  He must have noticed the accumulating mass of decisions concerning automobiles (the time when all of the well-known cases involving motor carriages could be discussed in just a few magazine pages [to wit: the November 17, 1902 issue of The Horseless Age; see page 512+ here] already had passed), perceived a need for an organizing text, and pulled together what would ultimately be the first of many editions of The Law of Automobiles in 1906.

The first edition of The Law of Automobiles is online, at archive.org; it’s pretty light on substance, with much of its text being dedicated to a recitation of state laws regarding automobile use and suppositions about how courts will be likely to rule in a number of as-yet-unfiled cases. The second edition, published in 1909, is available through Google Books; by then, Huddy had more caselaw to work with, and also was writing articles on automobile law for the Yale Law Journal as well as for trade publications like The Horseless Age. Basically, although there were other, rival automobile-law treatises during the first decades of the Twentieth Century, when you thought about the law of automobiles during this span, you probably thought about Xenophon Huddy.

A couple of years ago, an automotive journalist pulled together a short biography of Huddy and posted it on Wikipedia.  I’m glad he did; I doubt that anyone uses The Law of Automobiles–later editions were titled Huddy on Automobiles–very much anymore, but I think Huddy would appreciate being recognized on the Internet, a modern innovation that has boosted scholars’ careers in much the same way that the automobile built Huddy’s.

 

Ghosts and the Color Line: The Drafting of the Restatement (Second) of Torts

When I visited the American Law Institute archives a little while back to investigate the circumstances that surrounded the drafting of the Restatement (Second) Of Torts, I was interested not only in the intellectual debates over the Restatement, but also in the practical dynamics of these dialogues: where the drafters met, how they communicated, how much they drank while they met, etc. I addressed the last of these points when I guest-blogged on Concurring Opinions last December. For now, suffice it to say that one of the hotels that hosted a drafting session offered manhattans by the gallon.

One document I didn’t share at that time, but will now, also underscores how the 1950s were a different time than today.  In 1956, Herbert Goodrich of the American Law Institute wrote to the Inn at Buck Hill Falls, a Pennsylvania hotel (up in the Poconos resort area), to inquire if it would be up for hosting a drafting meeting.  After outlining the basic request, Goodrich also advises:

I should add that one of the group is one of my judicial colleagues here, Judge Hastie by name, and he is a negro. I assume that this fact will make no difference to you but I want to mention it in advance because I would not for the world have any embarrassment come to him.

Judge Hastie, here, was William H. Hastie, who had been appointed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals by President Truman.

I’d love to know more about the extent of the color line in the Poconos back in the 1950s, and how rigid it was; I suspect one can find the answer in Lawrence Squeri’s Better in the Poconos, but our library doesn’t have a copy. If it provides any indication, the meeting ultimately was held up at the Inn.

Race relations aren’t all that’s changed since 1956.  The hotel in question was once a beautiful resort. (And one with a rich history; perhaps Goodrich also should have been concerned about ghosts at the establishment.)  The hotel is no longer in operation, having closed in 1991, and is apparently up for sale.  Here is some recent shaky-cam footage of the hotel, accompanied by a rather suspect narrative.

(Image courtesy the University of Pennsylvania University Archives and Records Center, American Law Institute Archives [Restatement (Second) Category; Restatement (Second) Torts Record Group, Box 25, File Folder 25-2])

The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Indexed to Franklin, Rabin & Green’s Tort Law and Alternatives

A is for Adams who a wire imperiled

B is for Byrne crushed flat by a barrel

C is for Carter who slipped on some ice

D is for Dillon who might have died twice

E is for Escola nicked by some pop

F is for Fletcher whose mine needed a mop

G is for Goodman who caught a train the wrong way

H is for Hood who said his saw didn’t say

I is for Intel whose computers were smeared

J is for Johnson whose baby flat disappeared

K is for Katko shot while he stole

L is for Levandoski who fell into a hole

M is for Murphy maimed on “The Flopper”

N is for Negri who slipped as a shopper

O is for O’Brien halting pool sales

P is for Palsgraf squashed by some scales

Q is for Quill who received quite a scare

R is for Rowland owed reasonable care

S is for Summers who can’t ID his shooter

T is for Tedla struck by a commuter

U is for Ultramares from whom a company did steal

V is for Vosburg whose leg didn’t heal

W is for Wagon Mound done in by a spark

X is for the unreasonable man who takes stairs in the dark

Y is for Ybarra who sued the whole set

Z is for Zeran defamed over the Net

The Law of the Air (1910)

That’s the title of this compilation of three lectures given by Harold Hazeltine at the University of London back in 1910. Seven years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight, with a couple of fatalities due to crashes of early aeroplanes already on the books, jurists got to thinking about the novel legal issues implicated by aeronauts and aeronautics.  (OK, I’ll drop the “ae” spelling from this point out.  I was just gettin’ my retro on.)

True, at the time Hazeltine spoke there already were a few published cases regarding manned balloons — most notably, Guille v. Swan, decided all the way back in 1822. But  prescient thinkers could appreciate that airplanes would potentially become a more broadly diffused technology than balloons had been, or were.  Though their widespread use for conveying passengers seemed unlikely–early planes couldn’t go very fast, or far, such that early passenger routes were mostly just over bodies of water (e.g., between Tampa and St. Petersburg, the first scheduled passenger route in the United States), as to which planes had a significant competitive advantage over rail travel–planes obviously had a number of other possible uses.  Like, for instance, dropping bombs on one’s enemy, which was done for the first time the very next year (1911) in the Italo-Turkish War.

Consistent with contemporary notions of how planes were likely to be used in the future, if you search through Hazeltine’s lectures for a discussion of the rules governing liability to passengers in the event of a plane crash, you’ll come up dry.  As is so often the case, the worries that surrounded airplanes in their nascency were not those that predominate today. The big concerns, back then: how to reconcile airflight with the ad coelum doctrine, such that every flight didn’t produce 1,000 trespass suits (a struggle that Stuart Banner discusses in detail in his terrific book Who Owns the Sky?); and liability to persons on the ground if they happened to get flattened by a crashing plane. As for those foolish enough to be early pilots and passengers, well, they had it comin’.

One point that I’ve made in my writing on this general subject is that when a technology is first introduced to the public, the basic “ground rules” that will govern claims assigning blame to that innovation are often quite indistinct, and some of the early thinking on this score  may seem ludicrous in hindsight.  One passage in Hazeltine’s text captures the point nicely.  In discussing potential claims by pedestrians crushed from above by a doomed aeroplane (sorry; couldn’t resist), Hazeltine provides: “In considering the question of absolute liability we must not forget that the negligence of the persons who are injured will certainly be of moment in determining the airman’s liability. Undoubtedly the general use of air-vehicles will bring about the necessity for even greater caution on the part of all persons than at present exists. In going through the crowded streets of London, for instance, it might conceivably be necessary for the pedestrian and the driver of land vehicles not only to look in all directions to guard against accident arising from motor vehicles and all the other perils on the surface, but it will become necessary to beware lest they, by their failure to look up in the air, render themselves guilty of such negligence as will prevent their recovery in the event of accident.”

So, next time you’re talking a stroll, make sure you look up periodically.  We wouldn’t want your recovery to be reduced through comparative fault, you know.

Palsgraf, Circa 1933

A lot of us who teach United States v. Jones (which many of you may know of as “the GPS case”) have the sense that it’s an important decision.  How important, we don’t know.

Our present confusion has many parallels in the past, in which commentators found it difficult to predict how influential a particular decision would be. One example that I particularly like comes from another old study aid, James M. Henderson’s Questions and Answers with Problems and Illustrative Matter on the Law of Torts, Based on all the Standard Text and Case Books, which was published in 1933.  This book (again, really a lengthy pamphlet) was part of Callaghan’s Quizzer Series, which was probably the leading line of study aids for law students back in the early 1930s.  Anyway, Question 68 in the guide provides as follows:

“Q. Where plaintiff is standing on a railway station platform, waiting for a train, and another passenger jumping aboard a moving train is pushed aboard by a guard, dropping a package on the track which explodes, so that the force of the explosion dislodges some scales at the other end of the platform, injuring the plainitff, is the negligence of the guard the proximate cause of plaintiff’s injury?

A: No. Palsgraf v. Long Island R. Co., 248 N.Y. 339, 162 N.E. 99, 59 A.L.R. 1253.”

Keep in mind that the Callaghan’s guide poses this question quite early on, immediately after asking and answering the question, “In the legal sense, what is a ‘remote’ cause?”  Clearly, the author had a sense that Palsgraf was an important case.  But why would it prove important?  Here, the author had no clue, given the idiosyncratic facts of the case.  So the author contented himself with relating the perceived “rule” from Palsgraf, in almost comically narrow form.