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Unpublished Paper
Proximate Cause and Responsibility
(2007)
  • Peter M. Gerhart, Case Western Reserve University
Abstract
This article solves the many puzzles of proximate cause by articulating a normative theory that explains why a person who acts unreasonably and causes harm is sometimes not responsible in negligence for that harm. The article first articulates a methodology of justification and explains how our understanding of proximate cause has lacked a justificational basis. The article then develops a theory of responsibility that explains that in proximate cause cases courts are examining the injurer’s fault for causing harm rather than limiting liability for faulty conduct. I argue that the theory of responsibility embedded in the reasonable person standard limits responsibility when the circumstances that link an actor’s conduct to the harm are ones that a reasonable person would not be expected to take into account when making choices. This fault based theory allows us to see the proximate cause cases as a unified and coherent set of outcomes that respond to the normative basis of responsibility in tort.
Disciplines
Publication Date
2007
Citation Information
Peter M. Gerhart. "Proximate Cause and Responsibility" (2007)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/peter_gerhart/2/