March 25, 2020

Blyth v. Birmingham Waterworks Co. - 11 Exch. 781, 156 Eng.Rep. 1047 (1856) - Court of Exchequer

FACTS: Defendant had installed water mains in the street with various fire plugs. The plug opposite the plaintiff's house sprung a leak because of the unusually cold winter and caused damage to plaintiff's house. 

HISTORY: Verdict for the plaintiff and defendant appealed.

ISSUE: Were the defendants guilty of negligence? 

HOLDING: No 

RATIONALE: "Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided upon those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs would do or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do." (133) The defendants acted prudently with the knowledge they had and could not have expected such a cold winter. 

DISPOSITION: Verdict for the defendants.