The Law School Authority

Brauer v. N.Y. Central & H.R. R. Co. Case Brief

Summary of Brauer v. N.Y. Central & H.R. R. Co.

Facts: D train collided with P’s wagon at a crossing; P’s horse was killed and his wagon was destroyed; the wagons contents were stolen by unknown parties at the scene of the accident

History: Trial court for P

Issue: Whether the P should be able to recover the value of the stolen goods- a keg of cider, some empty barrels, and a blanket- from the D

Rule: The act of a third person intervening and contributing a condition necessary to the injurious effect of the original negligence, will not excuse the first wrongdoer, if such act ought to have been foreseen.

Holding: Yes, for P

Rationale: The act of the thieves did not intervene between D’s negligence and the P’s loss; the two causes were to all practical intents simultaneous and concurrent; it is rather a case of a joint tort than an intervening cause.

DISSENT:  Proximate cause imports unbroken continuity between cause and effect, which, both in law and in logic, is broken by the active intervention of an independent criminal actor.

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