Brown v. Shyne

242 N.Y. 176, 151 N.E. 197 (1926)

 

RULE:

Breach or neglect of duty imposed by statute or ordinance may be evidence of negligence only if there is logical connection between the proven neglect of statutory duty and the alleged negligence.

FACTS:

Plaintiff employed defendant to provide her with chiropractic treatments. As a result, plaintiff became paralyzed after she had received nine treatments. Plaintiff brought suit claiming that the paralysis was caused by the treatment she received. When plaintiff recovered judgment for the damages caused by said injury, defendant appealed based upon the trial court's charge to the jury. The trial court had instructed the jury that from defendant's violation of the Public Health Laws of New York, which prohibited the practice of medicine without a license, the jury might infer negligence which produced injury to the plaintiff. Judgment in favor of plaintiff was reversed.

ISSUE:

Does a violation of a statute constitute liability for negligence if the violation itself is not the proximate cause of any resulting injury?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The appellate court reversed plaintiff's judgment because it found that the trial court had erred when it charged the jury that from the violation of the statute the jury might infer negligence which produced injury to the plaintiff. Unless the plaintiff's injury was caused by carelessness or lack of skill, the defendant's failure to obtain a license was not connected with the injury.

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