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Torts Important Cases

Chapter 1 – Nature of a Tort

1. Donoghue v. Stevenson (Distinction b/w tort an breach of contract)

Ginger Beer Case

2. Gloucester Grammar School Case (Damnum Sine Injuria)

Person sets up school in front of his old school. Caused damage without and
legal injury. Not liable.

3. Ashby v. White (Injuria Sine Damnun)

Person not allowed to vote in parliamentary election. Legal injury without
any damage. Liable.

4. Mayor of Bradford Corp. v. Pickles (Malice in tort or evil motive)

Defendant made certain excavations on his own land which spoilt the
plaintiff’s land who did not agree to buy his land at an exorbitant price.

5. Town are Committee v. Prabhu Dayal (ibid)

Defendant demolished illegal construction of plaintiff. Contended the act of
demolishing was illegal but court held not liable as court held that if the
demolition is otherwise valid then it won’t be invalid just due to mala fide

Chapter 2 - General Defences

6. Hall v. Brooklands Auto Racing Club (Volenti Non Fit Injuria)

Spectator of race gets hurt upon one of the cars crashing. Held not liable as
implied consent of taking risk available.
7. Dann v. Hamilton (ibid)
Lady got into cab with knowledge of driver being drunk & met with an
accident. Driver held liable as court held that she consented to travel and not
to suffer the harm.

8. Smith v. Baker (Mere knowledge does not imply assent – VNFI)

Plaintiff employed to cut a rock, at the work place crane was conveying
stones from over his head. One of the stones fell on him. Defendant held

9. Haynes v. Harwood (Rescue cases – Exception for VNFI)

Horse goes out of control, constable voluntarily gets in to control it, gets
hurt. Is entitled to get damages under this exception.

10.Bird v. Holbrooke (Plaintiff the wrongdoer)

Owner of house throws stones on trespasser. Is held liable for causing such

11.Stanley v. Powell (Inevitable Accidents)

Defendant fires towards a bird, bullets hits tree bark, and hit the plaintiff.
Held not liable.

12.Nichols v. Marsland (Act of God)

4 bridges belonging to plaintiff washed away by unprecedented rainfall
which made water to escape from defendants artificial lake. Held not liable.

13. R. Muddali v. M. Gangan (Private Defence)

Defendant lad electric wire on his land without notice. Held liable

14. Consolidated Co. v. Curtis (Mistake – not a defense)

Defendant was an auctioneer who sold good to someone which in fact did
not belong to the person who gave it to him to put up for auction. He was
held liable.
15.Kirk v. Gregory (Necessity)
A’s sister in law after her death put the jewelry in another place from where
it’s stolen. Held liable as that act wasn’t necessary.

16. Vaughan v. Taff Valde Rail Co. (Statutory Authority)

Sparks from engine cause fire in appellant’s woods. Defendant not liable.

Chapter 3 - Capacity

17.Buron v. Denman (Act of State)

Person lets slaves free and burns slave barracoons belonging to plaintiff. Not
liable as his act was ratified by British Govt.

18.Campbell v. Paddington Corp. (Corporation)

Plaintiff took money from people to view a funeral ceremony from her
window which was obstructed by a stand erected by the defendants. Held
entitled for compensation

19.Johnson v.Pye (Minor)

Minor took a loan of 300 pounds by misrepresenting his age. Held not liable.

20.Brook v. Bool (Independent and Composite Tortfeasors)

A & B entered Z’s premise to search for an escape of gas. Both applied
naked light on pipeline and one’s act resulted in explosion causing damage
to Z’s property. Both were held liable.

21. Sailajanand Pandey v. Suresh Chandra Gupta (Person with judicial or

executive authority)
Magistrate acted mala fide, outside his jurisdiction to order arrest of
plaintiff. Held liable.
Chapter 4 - Vicarious Liability

22. SBI v. Shyama Devi (Agent-Principle)

Respondent handed over money for deposit to a bank employee who was her
acquaintance. He misappropriated them. Held bank not liable as the person
was acting outside his scope of employment.

23.Rickets v.Thomas Tilling Ltd. (Master-Servant)

Driver delegated work to another man who caused accident. Owner held
liable for negligent act of driver.

24.Priestly v. Fowler (Doctrine of Common Employment)

Plaintiff gets injured due to breaking down of carriage in charge of another
servant. Master not held liable as per the doctrine.

Chapter 5 - Vicarious Liability of the State

25. P&O Steam Navigation Co. v. Secretary of state of India ( Distinction

b/w Sovereign and Non-Sovereign Functions)
Plaintiff was travelling through Govt. dockyard wherein due to negligence of
defendant iron fell and frightened the horse causing injury to it. Govt. held
liable as dockyard functioning isn’t a sovereign function.

26. Kasturi Lal v. State of U.P.

Police seized stolen gold belonging to plaintiff which again got stolen from
the station. Held not liable as sovereign function (overruled later)

27. State of Gujarat v. Memon Mahomed

Custom authorities seized vehicles which and disposed them before the
order of revenue tribunal. Held Liable by overruling rule in Kasturi Lal case.
Chapter 6 - Remoteness of Damage

28. Rigby v. Hewit (Test of Reasonable Foreseeability)

Court held that the liability of the defendant is only for those consequences
which could have been foreseen by a reasonable man.

29. Re Polemis & Furness, Willthy & Co. Ltd. (Test Of Directness)
Defendant’s cargo containing benzene and petrol in plaintiff’s ship leaked
along with servant’s negligence causing a plank to fall and spark to start
leading to burning of the entire ship. Defendant held liable as it was a direct

30. Oversees Tankship Ltd. v. Morts Dock and Engg. Co. (Wagon Mound
Appellant’s ship was carrying fuel oil at Sydney Port, at 600 ft. the
respondents owned a wharf where welding operations were going on. Due to
negligence of servants, oil leaked and spread in the water & got carried upto
respondent’s wharf. After 60 Hours, molten metal fell on floating cotton
thereby igniting fuel oil and causing fire at the wharf. Not held liable as test
of directness was repealed in this case and got back to test of reasonable

Chapter 7 - Trespass to Person

31. Stephens v. Myers (Assault)

In a meeting of Parish, the defendant advanced towards the chairman with a
clinched fist to hit him but was stopped by the churchwarden in between.
Held liable for assault.
32. Pratap Daji v. B.B. & CI Rly. (Lawful justification)
Plaintiff entered carriage without a ticket, he was asked to get out and upon
refusal force was used. Held not liable as force was justified because of the
plaintiff being a trespasser.

33. Hering v. Boyle (False Imprisonment)

Schoolmaster wasn’t willing to send the kid home with mother until the fee
was payed, held he wasn’t liable as the kid wasn’t aware of his confinement
at all.

34. Robinson v. Balman Newferry Co. Ltd. (Lawful Detention)

The court held that a person not being permitted to go to a particular place
unless he pays certain amount doesn’t constitute false imprisonment.

35. Bhim Singh v. State of J&K (Unlawful Detention)

Plaintiff and MLA wasn’t allowed to attend assembly session without any
justified reason. Held the defendants were liable to pay damages of ₹50,000.

Chapter 8 - Defamation

36. Cassidy v. Daily Mirror Newspapers Ltd. (Inuendo)

Mr. C was married to a lady who was called Mrs. C. Later the newspaper
published about engagement of Mr. C with Ms. X. Held Liable for
Defamation of Ms. C.

37. Theaker v. Richardson (Statement must be published)

Defendant sent a letter alleging plaintiff to be a prostitute and brothel runner
which could be read by husband. Upon reading, the defendant was held
38. Alexander v. North Eastern Railway. (Justification)
The plaintiff had been sentences to prison for 14 days or fine of 1 pound.
Newspaper published it as 3 weeks. Held not liable as statement though not
completely accurate, was still dominantly true.

Chapter 9 - Nuisance

39. Radhey Shyam v. Gur Prasad (Unreasonable Intereference)

Running a flour mill in residential area held to be nuisance.

40. Ushaben v. Bhagya Laxmi Chitra Mandir (ibid)

Exhibition of the film ‘Jai Santoshi Ma’ is not nuisance merely because the
plaintiff alleges that his religious feelings are hurt as Goddesses Saraswati
and Laxmi have been depicted as jealous and ridiculed. He is free not to
watch it again.

41. Robinson v. Kilvert (What is no nuisance to a reasonable man will not

be treated a nuisance for sensitivity of the plaintiff)
A certain amount of traffic was normal for a reasonable man and hence a
sick person wasn’t entitled to bring an action.

42. Christie v. Davey

Defendant being irritated by considerable amount of music lessons by the
plaintiff, a music teacher maliciously caused discomfort to the plaintiff by
hammering against party wall, whistling and shrieking. Held liable.

Chapter 11 - Negligence

43. Donoghue v. Stevenson (Duty of care to the plaintiff)

Ginger beer case
44. Sushma Mitra v. M.P.S.R.T.C (Foreseeability)
Plaintiff had her elbow rested at window, got injured when a truck came
from close range in opposite direction. Since it was foreseeable, Truck and
Bus diver held liable.

45. Cates v. Mongini Bros. (ibid)

Latent defect in suspension caused ceiling fan to fall on the plaintiff in the
restaurant. Held not liable as it could not have been foreseen.

46. Rajmal v. State of Rajasthan (Medical Negligence)

Lack of facilities or qualified people when needed if not available, the
hospital can be held liable.

47. Glasgow Corporation v. Taylor (Breach of duty)

Poisonous berries grown in public garden under Defendant Corporation’s
control. Held liable for not taking proper precautions.

48. Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Subhagwanti (Res Ipsa Loquitur)

Clock belonging to MCD in the heart of the city, fell and caused death.

49. Wilkison v. Downton (Nervous Shock)

Plaintiff suffered nervous shock and got seriously ill on being told falsely by
the way of practical joke, by the defendant that her husband had broken both
his legs in an accident.

50. King v. Phillips (ibid)

Servant was negligently backing a taxi-cab into a boy on a tricycle. The
boy’s mother saw only the cycle getting under the car and boy screaming.
Not liable.

Chapter 13 - Contributory Negligence Composite

51. Davies v. Mann (Last Opportunity Rule)
Plaintiff fettered the forefeet of his donkey and left it in a narrow highway
where defendant was driving rashly and run over it. Plaintiff was entitled to
compensation as defendant had last opportunity.

52. Amthiben v.ONGC (Composite Negligence)

Due to negligence of jeep and bus driver, there was an accident and
passenger was thrown out and killed. Liability was calculated to be 75:25
respectively making them jointly and severally liable.

Chapter 14 - Liability Towards Dangerous Premise.

53. Savitri v. G.K. Kumar (Obligation towards lawful visitors)

If the 1st floor balcony of a building under construction collapses and results
in death of advocate sitting on ground floor, defendant is liable.

54. Cherubin Gregory v. State of Bihar (Obligations towards trespassers)

If a person without warning fixed naked charged electric wire across the
passage to the latrine in order to prevent anyone from using it. Though a
trespasser died, the person was held liable to for the death.

55. Glasgow Corporation v. Taylor (Obligation towards children)

The defendant who controlled a public park were held liable for death for a 7
year old child who had picked and eaten some attractive but otherwise
poisonous berries from a shrub. Held liable because when around children,
extra care is supposed to be taken.

Chapter 16 – Rules of Strict & Absolute Liability

56. Rylands v. Fletcher (Strict Liability)

Defendant got a reservoir constructed on his own land for providing water to
his mill. It overflowed and destroyed plaintiff’s coal mines on the adjoining
land. He was made strictly liable though the negligence was on the part of
the independent contractors who built the reservoir.

57. M.C. Mehta v. UOI (Absolute Liability)

Leakage of ileum gas from one of the units of Shriram Food & Fertilizer
Industries in Delhi resulting in certain deaths. Court found that victims could
not be provided relief by using strict liability because of the exceptions and
hence evolved the concept of absolute liability.

Chapter 17 – Liability for Animals

58. May v. Burdett (Scienter Rule)

If animals are dangerous in nature, when you keep them, you will be liable
for the harm caused regardless of due care. (monkey bites plaintiff).

59. Buckle v. Holmes (Cattle Trespass – Exception of dogs and cats)

Defendant’s cat strays on the plaintiff’s land and kills plaintiff’s bird. Not

60. State of H.P. v. Halli Devi (State’s liability for Wild Animals)
Injury by Black Bear in a jungle does not make the state liable merely
because such animals are protected by the state under Wildlife Protection

Chapter 18 – Trespass to Land

61. Graham v. Peat (Possession-Ownership Rule)

Plaintiff was allowed to bring action against defendant who trespassed
without any justification though the land was in possession of the plaintiff
through a void lease agreement.
62. Six Carpenters’ Case (Trespass-Ab-Initio)
6 carpenters entered and ordered wine and bread but dint pay for it. They
weren’t liable for trespass ab initio as it was non-fesance and not mis-

63. Wood v. Leadbitter

Plaintiff bought a ticket to watch the horserace. He was asked to leave by the
authorities during the race for a justified reason and upon refusing to leave,
was forcibly sent out. Got an action for Assault against the defendants but
the court held that the minute they asked him to leave, revocation of license
took place and he was a trespasser from that moment.

64. Hemmings v. Stoke Poges Golf Club (Ejection as a remedy)

Plaintiff was employee under defendant and was asked to quit the job and
vacate the house with due notice. Upon not doing so, he and his furniture
were thrown out using reasonable force. Held not liable.

Chapter 19 – Trespass to Goods, Detinue and Conversion

65. Kirk v. Gregory (Goods)

Defendant upon death of brother in law took the jewelry and hid it in a safe
place from where it got stolen. Held liable as they weren’t her goods.

66. Richardson v. Atkinson (Conversion)

Defendant drew out some wine from plaintiff’s cask and added water to it.
Held liable for conversion.

Chapter 20 – Interference with Contract or Business

67. Mogul Steamship Co. v. McGregor, Gow & Co. (Conspiracy)

Defendants offered reduced freight to monopolize the trade business
between China and Europe. This affected the plaintiff but they weren’t held
liable as this was considered to be just a means to promote and protect their
own business interests.

68. Kalaniketan v. Kalaniketan (Passing off)

When coming out an established company, defendants were not allowed to
open a same company with same name in the same city.

Chapter 21 – Liability for Misstatements

69. Sri Krishan v. Kurukshetra University (Fraud)

Mere non-disclosure doesn’t amount to fraud. The appellant did not meet
criteria of appearing for all the exams but regardless did so due to negligence
of the staff. Later wasn’t held liable for fraud.

70. Derry v. Peek (Negligent Misstatements)

Directors of a company were not held liable for fraud when they honestly
believed that they would be granted permission to run tramways because of
which they published it in their prospectus but the permission was denied

Chapter 23 – Death in Relation to Torts

71. Klaus Mittlebachert v. East India Hotels Ltd.

Plaintiff got hurt after diving in pool in an expensive hotel which was held to
be liable for not taking due care. The suit wasn’t dropped midway after the
death of plaintiff and the widow wife was held entitled for the compensation.
This rule was anyway reversed by D.B. in AIR 2002 Delhi 124.

72. Baker v. Bolton

Wife and husband got severely hurt due to upset of coach by negligence of
the defendants. Husband sued them and was entitled to all the expenses for
his hurts and wife’s sufferings but wasn’t entitled to any compensation in
relation to death of the wife subsequently.

Chapter 24 – Remedies

73. Klaus Mittlebachert v. East India Hotels Ltd.

Supra 71. Held the hotel was obliged to pay more due to the high charges
they made the customer pay.

74. Laxminarayan v. Sumitra Bai

Defendant lured the plaintiff to have sexual relation with false promise to
marry and refused upon the plaintiff getting pregnant. Held liable and made
to compensate for physical pain, indignity, diminished chances of marriage
and also social stigma.

75. M. Narayana v. P. Venugopala (Multiplier Theory)

On death of wife due to negligence of the defendant, the husband was
entitled to claim for replacing services rendered by wife as well as for loss of

Chapter 25 – Compensation Under Motor Vehicles Act

76. Vanguard Ins. Co. v. Yashoda (Insurer’s Liability)

If a compound wall on a public road is hit by a vehicle, the accident occurs
in a public place even though the person suffering is on the other side of the

77. R.S. Mishra v. Shiv Mohan Singh (Ex-Parte)

If an application can show sufficient cause for not appearing the ex-parte
award can be set aside.
Chapter 26 – Consumer Protection Act, 1986

78. Anant Raj Agencies v. Telco (Commercial Purpose)

Plaintiff bought car for director’s use. It wasn’t considered for the purpose of
private profit making and hence was a consumer and could bring action
under this section.

79. UOI v. Nathmal Hansaria (Deficiency in railway services)

Passenger was trying to cross from one compartment to another when he fell
down and died because the passage wasn’t properly guarded with grills.
Railways held liable.

80. Spring Meadows Hospital v. Harjot Ahluwalia (Medical Services)

Due to the fault of nursing home, brain damage is caused to the child.
Nursing home held liable for both parents and child because parents are
consumers as they hire the services and child because he is the beneficiary of
the service.