Answer To MBE Question From October 25th
(C) is correct.
Issue: Whether the plaintiff can still recover despite the fact that an intervening force caused the injury.
Rule: A direct cause is where the injury results directly from the breach of duty and there is no other event that contributes to the plaintiff’s injury. A superseding cause occurs when an intervening act is both unforeseeable and causes an injury different from the one which would have been caused by the defendant’s breach alone. Note that if the intervening event was foreseeable, then it is not superseding. When there is a foreseeable intervening force rather than a superseding cause, the original defendant is still the legal cause of that injury and is responsible to the plaintiff for all foreseeable damages, including the harm caused by the intervening force.
Analysis: Here, it is foreseeable that a lawnmower might come in contact with a stick. Thus, the manufacturer is still liable for any injury caused by the intervening force (the stick). Moreover, the injury caused by the blade is a foreseeable injury.
(C) is correct because the stick is a foreseeable intervening force and the injury caused is also foreseeable.
(A) is incorrect because the lawnmower did not directly cause the injury; it was the lawnmower’s contact with the stick that caused the injury.
(B) is incorrect because a superseding cause is unforeseeable and causes an injury that would be different from defendant’s breach alone. Here, the stick is completely foreseeable and the injury caused is no different than what might occur if defendant’s breach alone caused the injury.
(D) is incorrect because the stick was foreseeable.