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Your neighbor’s English bulldog, Cedric, is very friendly, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at him. Last Monday, the substitute mail carrier met Cedric as he was approaching the mailbox. Because the mail carrier is afraid of even small dogs, he collapsed from fright at the sight of Cedric approaching, fell to the ground, and broke his left arm. A motorist, who observed this situation while driving by, rammed the neighbor’s parked car. The parked car then proceeded down the street through two fences, finally stopping in Mrs. Smith’s living room.
In an interesting case in Arizona, Vanguard Insurance Company v. Cantrell v. Allstate Insurance Company, 1973 C.C.H. (automobile) 7684, an insurer was held liable for personal injuries inflicted on a storeowner when its insured robbed the store and fired a warning shot to scare the owner. The robber’s aim was bad, and he hit the owner. Because he had not intended to harm the owner, the insured convinced the court that the exclusion under a homeowners policy of intentional injury should not apply.
Most states have a vicarious liability law regarding the use of an automobile. For instance, California and New York hold the owner liable for injuries caused by the driver’s negligence, whereas Pennsylvania and Utah make the person furnishing an automobile to a minor liable for that minor’s negligence. Ohio, Indiana, Texas, Hawaii, and Rhode Island make the parent, guardian, or signer of the minor’s application for a license liable for the minor’s negligence.
In Steyer v. Westvaco Corporation, 1979 C.C.H. (fire & casualty) 1229, and in Grand River Lime Company v. Ohio Casualty Insurance Company 1973 C.C.H. (fire and casualty) 383, industrial operators were held liable for damages caused by their discharge of pollutants over a period of years, even though they were not aware of the damage they were causing when discharging the pollutants.
Erin Lavinsky works for the Pharmacy On-Line company in Austin, Texas. She likes to work on private matters on her business computer and has received a few infected documents. She was too lazy to update her Norton Utilities and did not realize that she was sending her infected material to her coworkers. Before long, the whole system collapsed and business was interrupted for a day until the backup system was brought up.