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American Truck Leasing, Inc. v. Thorne Equipment Co.

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Brief Fact Summary.

Debris from a damaged building fell during demolition, which may have been damaged prior due to nearby fire.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Negligent acts which are removed from an intervening act which leads to property loss may not be actionable for any harms suffered by a plaintiff.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

Factors for the court to consider in determining whether an actor's conduct is a substantial factor in bringing about harm to another are: (a) the number of other factors which contribute in producing the harm and the extent of the effect which they have in producing it; (b) whether the actor's conduct has created a force or series of forces which are in continuous and active operation up to the time of the harm, or has created a situation harmless unless acted upon by other forces for which the actor is not responsible; and (c) lapse of time.

View Full Point of Law

A building was scheduled for demolition, but sustained damages due to a fire which spread from an accompanying property. During the demolition process, debris fell from the building and damaged Plaintiff’s buildings and vehicles.


Whether Gross’s accumulation of trash was a substantial factor in contributing to the spread of the fire and resulting property damage?


No, the demolition of the building was an intervening act, making the accumulation of debris not a contributing factor to the vehicle and building damage.

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