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Law School Case Brief

Butler v. McDonald's Corp - 110 F. Supp. 2d 62 (D.R.I. 2000)

Rule:

Under Rhode Island law, to establish a prima facie case of negligence, a plaintiff must show that: (1) the defendant owed a duty of due care to the plaintiff; (2) the defendant breached that duty; (3) the defendant's negligent acts constitute both the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries; and (4) the plaintiff has suffered actual damages.

Facts:

Plaintiff filed an action to recover damages for injuries sustained as a result of the alleged negligence of defendant, its agents, servants, and/or employees in maintaining the premises of a franchised restaurant. Defendant moved for summary judgment. The trial court denied the motion.

Issue:

Is defendant franchisor liable for injuries sustained by its franchisee?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The Court affirmed the denial of the motion for summary judgment was, because defendant could be held vicariously liable due to the alleged agency relationship with the franchisee, and expert testimony was not necessary in order for plaintiff to prove causation.

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