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Welcome to my Law blog specifically intended as an aid to law students. I will post comments and white papers, from time to time, and I am happy to carry on conversations with students who are in need of help in law school.


I am most conservative and appropriate in my approach so if you comment and/or have questions to ask, please do so with an equal degree of appropriateness.



I am a Professor of Law at Concord Law School, an Internet Law School located in Los Angeles, though I live, teach and otherwise work out of Lakewood, Colorado, resting up against the foothills just west of Denver.

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I have no set schedule of posting, but I hope you will check in from time to time.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

8 – Negligence – Breach of Duty (Res Ipsa Loquitur)

8 – Negligence – Breach of Duty (Res Ipsa Loquitur)

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING IS TAKEN FROM SOME OF MY CLASS NOTES, SOME OF WHICH IS MY OWN PERSONAL WORK AND SOME OF WHICH BELONGS TO CONCORD LAW SCHOOL.  IT IS POSTED TO HELP MY IL STUDENTS IN PARTICULAR.  IT CANNOT BE DISSEMINATED WITHOUT EXPRESS, WRITTEN PERMISSION.

Last time in Torts, we talked about Negligence Per Se. Now we will talk about Res Ipsa Loquitur (RIL).

Res Ipsa Loquitur

The purpose of RIL is to prove breach of duty as it benefits plaintiff since the plaintiff does not need to show that defendant acted unreasonably. Here are the elements:

     1. The harm suffered is most likely caused by negligence of someone.
     2. It is more likely that it was defendant’s negligence (or defendant had exclusive control of object which caused the harm).
     3. The Plaintiff was not at fault.

In most states, once these three elements are established, an inference is created that allows, not requires, the jury to find that defendant breached a duty of care. Once the jury accepts the inference, does plaintiff then prevail in the negligence suit? No. Remember that this is just one element of negligence – breach of duty. Plaintiff must also establish causation and damages. RIL only helps to prove breach of duty.

We will talk about causation when we return to torts.

Professor Doug Holden
© 2010. Douglas S. Holden. All Rights Reserved.

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