Stachniewicz v. Mar-Cam Corp.

Supreme Court of Oregon, 1971.

259 Or. 583, 488 P.2d 436.

Prosser, pp. 202-205


Facts: The plaintiff got in a bar brawl and sued the operator of the bar for negligence.  His action is based on a statute that says that drunken people must not be given any more drinks and a regulation that says that a holder of an alcohol license mustn’t allow things to get out of hand in their establishment.  The trial court refused to allow either negligence theory and the jury found for the defendant.  The plaintiff appealed.


Issue: Do the statutes the plaintiff cites constitute negligence per se?


Rule: The court may adopt a statute or regulation as the standard of conduct for a reasonable man if the law or rule more or less is designed to protect the plaintiff against the harm he actually suffered.[1]


Analysis: The court rejects negligence based on the theory of the statute the plaintiff cites because it would be next to impossible to conclude that the extra drink was the actual cause of the drunken person beating up the defendant.  However, the court finds merit in the negligence theory based on the regulation.  The court argues that the regulation is designed to protect bar patrons from bar brawls, and thus can be used as a reasonable man standard in this case.


Conclusion: The court reversed the verdict and remanded the case for a new trial.


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[1] Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 286.