By Sherri Stewart
On a warm summer day in Brooklyn, Helen Palsgraf, along with her two daughters, stood on the platform waiting to catch a train to the beach. As another train (not hers) began to move, a man carrying a package ran to catch the train and leapt aboard, with the help of a platform guard pushing him from behind. But in the process, the man fumbled the package, which dropped and exploded, for it apparently contained fireworks. The force of the explosion caused a coin-operated scale to topple onto Helen, who stood at a distance of ten feet away. No one was hurt enough to spend the night in the hospital, though Helen was bruised, suffered from shock, and several days later began stuttering due to the trauma at the New York station.
If you watch commercials, you’re aware of negligence cases which involve automobile accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, product liability, and accidents on the job. In all these cases, the courts must prove four elements: duty, breach, causation, and harm. One of the questions always asked is whether the harm was foreseeable.
In the Palsgraf case, the court determined that although the railroad employee was negligent when he pushed the man from behind, he was not negligent to Mrs. Palsgraf because it wasn’t foreseeable that a box dropped would cause a person standing at a distance to be injured by a scale. Because of this case, limitations are placed on who can sue for damages, which frees courts from spurious lawsuits.
Your turn: Adam accepted an invitation from his friend Dot to attend a baseball game. The seats Dot had purchased were very good, a few rows up from the field, and just past first base. Adam had recently immigrated to the United States and knew nothing about baseball.
During the game, a player, Brad, hit a ground ball toward third base. The third baseman fielded the ball and threw to the first baseman. Brad thought he was “safe,” but the first base umpire called him “out.” Brad began to argue with the umpire, and in frustration, Brad threw his batting helmet to the ground. The helmet, made of a strong, plastic material, bounced on the ground and flew into the stands, striking Adam on the side of the head, causing a serious injury. Adam never saw the helmet coming towards him because he was looking around the stadium at the time rather than at the play on the field. Does Adam have a case against the team?
Selah Award finalist Sherri Stewart loves a clean novel, sprinkled with romance and a strong message that challenges her faith. She spends her working hours with books—either editing others’ manuscripts or writing her own. Her passions are traveling to the settings of her books and sampling the food. She traveled to Paris for this book, and she still works daily on her French, although she doesn’t need to since everyone speaks English. A recent widow, Sherri lives in Orlando with her lazy dog, Lily. She shares recipes, tidbits of the book’s locations, and other authors' books in her newsletter.
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Selah Award Finalist: What Hides behind the Walls
If the Nazis stole your house, wouldn’t you be justified in stealing it back now that the war is over?
When Tamar Feldman admits to her husband, Daniel, and mentor, Neelie Visser, that she broke into her former home, they scold her for taking such a risk. Tamar is tired of being careful. She’s tired of living in the present, as if the past doesn’t matter. But the painting of the violin girl in her former bedroom draws her back again and again. She finally steals the painting to return it to its former owner. Now maybe this small act of justice will help her start to heal. What Tamar doesn’t realize is the past isn’t finished with her yet; in fact, it’s as close as the walls in her house and even follows her to Paris.