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Law School Case Brief

Butts v. Weisz - 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140487

Rule:

Evidence establishing an increased risk of harm is not evidence that those conditions caused the harm.

Facts:

Plaintiff wife (individually and on behalf of the estate of her deceased husband) filed an action against against defendants (husband and wife) for the death of plaintiff’s husband, alleging negligence. The action arose out of an accident that resulted in the death of Glen Butts. Plaintiff moved for partial summary judgment, but that motion was denied by the court without considering its merits; plaintiff filed a renewed motion for partial summary judgment, and defendants moved for summary judgment.

Issue:

Did a breach of duty on the part of defendants cause plaintiff’s husband’s death?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court denied the plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment and granted defendant's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff did not adduce sufficient evidence with respect to causation, which is a necessary element of her negligence claim against defendants that must be established to support a reasonable jury rendering a verdict in favor of plaintiff. By reason of the lack of existence of genuine issues of material fact with respect to the causation element, partial summary judgment cannot be granted in favor of plaintiff.

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