Kramer Service, Inc. v. Wilkins

Supreme Court of Mississippi, 1939.

184 Miss. 483, 186 So. 625.

Prosser, pp. 260-263

 

Facts: The plaintiff cut his head on some glass in a hotel, and it was clear that the hotelís negligence was the cause of that harm.Later, skin cancer developed at the point of injury.The plaintiff sued for both injuries and won at trial.The defendant appealed.

 

Issue: Was the hotelís negligence the actual cause of the skin cancer?

 

Rule: The plaintiff must prove as an element of the negligence cause of action that the defendantís negligence was the actual cause of the harm done to the plaintiff.

 

Analysis: The court finds that the hotelís negligence was not the actual cause of the skin cancer because correlation does not imply causation and nobody knows what causes cancer.

 

Conclusion: The finding of liability was affirmed, but the award was reversed and remanded to find out how much the plaintiff should be awarded for the original cut alone rather than the cut and the cancer.

 

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