Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiff died at sea. Plaintiff’s administratrix sued on his behalf in negligence. Defendant moved to dismiss. The trial court ruled in favor of Defendant. Plaintiff appealed.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
There is no negligence if a plaintiff cannot show that defendant’s actions caused his injuries.
Ford (Plaintiff) was employed as a mate on a boat owned by Trident Fisheries Co. (Defendant). Plaintiff was thrown overboard one night. A boat was lowered to pick him up. This boat was suspended from davits and had only one oar. Plaintiff was never recovered and was presumed dead. The administratrix of Plaintiff’s estate sued on his behalf in negligence. Defendant moved to dismiss the suit. The trial court entered judgment for Defendant, and Plaintiff appealed.
Whether a plaintiff can establish negligence when he cannot show that the actions of the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
No. Plaintiff’s exceptions are overruled. There is no negligence if a plaintiff cannot show that defendant’s actions caused his injuries.
This subject has been learnedly discussed by Chief Justice MARSHALL in Johnson v. M'Intosh and by Chief Justice TANEY in Martin v. Waddell and in these cases the Supreme Court of the United States said: If discovery be made and possession be taken under the authority of an existing government, which is acknowledged by the emigrants, it is supposed to be well settled that the discovery is made for the benefit of the whole nation, and the vacant soil is to be disposed of by that organ of the government which has the constitutional power to dispose of the national domain.View Full Point of Law
In the current matter, the administratrix has not provided any evidence to show that Defendant’s actions caused Plaintiff’s death. She suggests that because the boat was suspended from davits and had only one oar that Defendant was negligent. Even if these facts established that Defendant was negligent, there is no evidence to show that either of these facts caused Plaintiff to die.