There are two types of strict liability cases:

  1. Animal incidents
  2. Abnormally dangerous activities

Strict liability refers to the courts always holding the defendant liable for injuries that are sustained by plaintiffs. In other words, there is almost no excuse


  • Livestock are regulated heavily by statute.
  • Wild animals
  • Dogs
    • Once upon a time, dogs were allowed “one free bite”. This is not the case any more. Instead, owners are expected to know when dogs pose a danger to humans. How is this proved? The owner is typically liable if the dog is attacking or attempting to bite a person. If the dog is not attacking or attempting to bite but causes an injury (chases a cyclist who crashes), then you use the standard negligence standard.

Abnormally dangers activities

Rylands v. Fletcher

The defendants here owned a mill and created a resivor. The water broke through and damaged the plaintiff’s land. Can we determine if the defendants were negligent? In this case, the defendants were not negligent.

Recall Spano v. Pernini. How is an activity dangerous? You need to look at the activity, and the location where the activity is taking place. The court considers:

  1. Risk of harm
  2. Inability to eliminate the risk

Examples include:

  1. Blasting
  2. Using chemicals



We conduct a risk analysis. Why do we say certain conduct is negligent? What risk are we trying to avoid?

Contributory negligence is not a defense.


The content contained in this article may contain inaccuracies and is not intended to reflect the opinions, views, beliefs, or practices of any academic professor or publication. Instead, this content is a reflection on the author’s understanding of the law and legal practices.

Categories: 1L Fall, Torts

Will Laursen

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