Chemistry Question

LAWS 10052 – Laws & Ethics
Assignment #1
Under TORT LAW, determine liability, if any, for each of the following cases:
In Good Wear Treaders Ltd. V. D & B Holdings Ltd.14, Good-Wear sold retreaded tires to Pash knowing
that Pash intended to mount the tires on the front wheels of a truck for which they were not suitable.
Good-Wear knew that the business carried on by Pash would impose greater loads on the tires than the
tires were capable of bearing safely and, that the truck would be driven on public highways. One of the
tires failed on the highway causing an accident, which demolished an oncoming car killing three of its
A prisoner in a cell set a fire that spread through the short term holding facility killing 21 prisoners. The
defendant, Chubb, designed and supplied the materials for the facility including shock absorbent
padding for the cell walls, which it covered with a heavy reinforced material. The combustion of the
padding produced dense black smoke, hampering rescue efforts. The evidence supported the
contention that the fire resulted from an open flame. Chubb argued that it was not foreseeable that a
prisoner with both the means and inclination to get through the outer covering and ignite the padding
would be placed in a padded cell by the police.
In Rae v. T Eaton Co. (Maritimes) 17, a child was playing with a discarded can containing artificial snow.
When the nozzle of the can became clogged, the child resorted to banging the can against a concrete
wall. The can exploded, and the child’s eye was badly injured and had to be removed.
Module 2: Tort Law
Law for Professional Engineers (Canadian and Global Insights)
D.L. Marston, McGraw-Hill
Practical Law of Architecture, Engineering, and Geoscience,
B.M. Samuels and D.R. Sanders, Pearson Canada
} Topics of Discussion
◦ Introduction to Tort Law
◦ Purpose and Principles of Tort Law
◦ Engineers Standard of Care
◦ Development of Tort Law
◦ Strict Liability
◦ Vicarious Liability
◦ Concurrent Tortfeasors
◦ Product Liability
◦ Standard of Care & Duty to Warn
◦ Economic Loss
◦ Other Relevant Torts

} What is Tort Law?
◦ “a civil wrong arising from an act or failure to act,
independently of any contract, for which an action
for personal injury or property damages may be
brought”, Collins English Dictionary definition
} Professionally speaking a tort is;
◦ A breach of a duty of care owed to another party
that causes injury or loss
} Tort Law is based both on common law and
statue law
} Significant portion of tort law is based on
common law for engineering
} Therefore, a solid understanding of legal
concepts and precedent cases are critical for
professionals in engineering
} Tort Law consists of two categories
◦ Intentional Torts
◦ Unintentional Torts
} Intentional Torts include but not limited to;
◦ Bodily harm torts
– Assault, battery, false imprisonment
◦ Economic torts
– Fraud, conspiracy, restraint of trade
◦ Property torts
– Trespassing, conversion of property, damage to
◦ Torts against individuals
– Defamation (libel & slander), invasion of privacy
} Many of these torts are considered statutory
torts and are covered by legislation
} Unintentional torts include;
◦ Negligence . .
◦ Negligent misrepresentation
} These torts are not done on purpose, often
done by mistake
} Since 1932, engineers have been responsible
for their mistakes

“Negligence is the omission to do something which a
reasonable [person], guided upon those considerations which
ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or
doing something which a prudent and reasonable [person]
would not do.
The defendants might have been liable for negligence, if,
unintentionally, they omitted to do that which a reasonable
person would have done, or did that which a person taking
reasonable precautions would not have done.”
(Blyth v. Birmingham Water Works (1856) 11 Ex. 781)
} Fundamental Purpose:
◦ To compensate victims for harm suffered from the
actions of others
– ( To provide economic disincentives in order to
minimise unwanted behaviour )
– NOT to punish perpetrators (criminal law)
◦ Professionals protect themselves by obtaining
professional liability insurance
} Bases for Compensation
◦ Fault
– Conduct which intentionally or carelessly disregards
the interests of others (= negligence)
◦ Strict Liability
– Liability regardless of conduct (e.g., “inherently
dangerous activities”)
◦ Vicarious Liability
– Employer liable for an act committed by an employee
in the course of employment
} The plaintiff must prove
A) that in carrying on a particular activity the
defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
B) that the defendant violated that duty by his/her
C) that the defendant’s action caused the injury to
the plaintiff
} If any one of these are not proven, the
plaintiff will not succeed
} To whom?
} What duty?
} Court rulings have changed both over the
} Establishment of the Standard of Care
required by the defendant is a significant
factor in tort action
} Courts apply some standard of care to
determine if conduct was negligent
} The standard is applied based on the
“reasonable care” and skill of a professional
} Reasonable care of a professional is based on
the following;
◦ Applicable standards of the profession at the time
the service was provided
◦ If not qualified, the standard must still be met
– E.g. A carpenter installs new plumbing for a bathroom
renovation. Carpenter will be treated as if a plumber
◦ Someone who is considered a “Specialist” will be
held to a higher standard
} It is certainly true that an engineer or
technologist has a duty of care to not only his or
her clients, but also those who may be affected
by the actions of the engineer or technologist
From Halsbury’s Laws of England:
◦ It is trite law that an engineer is liable for incompetence,
carelessness or negligence which results in damages to
his employer and he is in the same position as any other
professional or skilled person who undertakes his
professional work for reward and is therefore
responsible if he does or omits to do his professional
undertaking with an ordinary and reasonable degree of
care and skill.
} Is it negligence or a mistake?
◦ Professionals are expected to possess reasonably
competent skills
◦ However, perfection is not required
◦ Courts look to see if the professional exercised
reasonable care
Plaintiff was employed by Postmaster General (PMG)
to drive a stage-coach
} Defendant was supplier of stage-coaches to PMG
} While driving, plaintiff was injured when wheel broke,
and sued Wright
} Court ruled that, because there was no contract
between Winterbottom and Wright, there was no duty
of care
NOTE: “Privity of Contract” – A doctrine of contract
law that prevents any person from seeking the
enforcement of a contract, or suing on its
terms, unless they are a party to that contract.
} Judge’s Ruling:
“There is no .. contract between these parties;
and if the plaintiff can sue, every passenger,
or even any person passing along the road,
who was injured by the upsetting of the
coach, might bring similar action. Unless we
confine the operation of such contracts as
this to the parties who enter into them, the
most absurd and outrageous consequences,
to which I see no limit, would ensue.”
} Plaintiff Thomas bought bottle labelled
“extract of dandelion” from druggist
} Bottle actually contained poisonous extract of
} Thomas sued manufacturer (who labelled
} No contract
◦ (Manufacturer – Wholesaler – Retailer – Customer)
} Mrs. Thomas won
} Judge’s Ruling:
An exception to the precedent requiring a
contract because “the death or great bodily
harm of some person was the natural and
almost inevitable consequence of the sale of
belladonna by means of the false label.”
} Plaintiff purchased car from dealer
} Plaintiff was injured when a wheel collapsed,
throwing him out of car
} Wheel was made of defective wood
} Buick bought wheel from another
} Defect could have been discovered by
reasonable inspection, which was omitted
} MacPherson sued Buick and won
Justice Cardozo extended Thomas v. Winchester
by allowing the injury to be a “probable” rather
than an “inevitable” consequence of the
defendant’s conduct.
“We hold, then, that the principle of Thomas v.
Winchester is not limited to poisons, explosives,
and things of like nature… . If the nature of a
thing is such that it is reasonably certain to place
life and limb in peril when negligently made, it is
then a thing of danger. … The manufacturer of
this thing of danger is under a duty to make it
} Ms. Donoghue drank part of bottle of beer
purchased from vendor by a companion
} She discovered part of a decaying snail in the
bottle; became ill
} Sued bottler, and won
} see Wikipedia for full case summary
“A manufacturer of products, which he sells in
such a form as to show that he intends them to
reach the ultimate consumer in the form in which
they left him with no possibility of intermediate
examination and with the knowledge that the
absence of reasonable care in the preparation or
putting up of the products will result in an injury
to the consumer’s life or property, owes a duty to
the consumer to take reasonable care.“
Basis of product liability law in Canada
Once plaintiff establishes that a defect in a
product caused injury, the burden of proof
shifts to the defendant to prove absence of
negligence (that the defendant could not
reasonably have foreseen the defect).
Manufacturers, assemblers, installers,
repairers, sub-manufacturers, etc.
} Defendant’s financial advice was negligently
given Plaintiff would be entitled to
compensation, but…
} Defendant had included a disclaimer which
relieved it of liability
} see Wikipedia for full case summary
} One the most significant tort cases to date
} Reason 1
◦ Expanded tort law relief beyond damages to person
or property.
◦ Now includes financial loss that resulted from
advice negligently given
◦ Initiated what is known as Economic Loss
} Reason 2
◦ Focus attention on services performed by
Topics of Discussion
◦ Introduction to Tort Law
◦ Purpose and Principles of
Tort Law
◦ Engineers Standard of
◦ Development of Tort Law
◦ Strict Liability
◦ Vicarious Liability
◦ Concurrent Tortfeasors
◦ Product Liability
◦ Standard of Care & Duty
to Warn
◦ Economic Loss
◦ Other Relevant Torts

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