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

    Brief Fact Summary.

    American Truck Leasing, Inc. sued Thorne Equipment Co. when property owned by Thorne fell on and damages vehicles owned by American Truck Leasing.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A plaintiff must show that negligent conduct was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff, and there was no intervening act to break the causal connection in order to recover for a negligence action.

    Facts.

    A fire started in a building owned by Gross, and spread to property owned by Tartaglia and JACTCO. After the fire, the City of Philadelphia (City), contracted with Thorne Equipment Company (Throne) to demolish an elevator in a building owned by Tartaglia. In demolition, the elevator fell and damaged property owned by American Truck Leasing, Inc. (American). American filed suit to recover damages, and the trial court dismissed American’s claim against Gross.

    Issue.

    Whether a plaintiff must show that negligent conduct was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff, and there was no intervening act to break the causal connection in order to recover for a negligence action?

    Held.

    Yes. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. The damage to American’s property was caused by the intervening act of the demolition contractor, not the combustible trash accumulated on Grosse’s property.

    Discussion.

    A plaintiff must show that negligent conduct was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff, and there was no intervening act to break the causal connection in order to recover for a negligence action.


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