To prevail on a negligence claim, a plaintiff must establish that a defendant's conduct "legally caused" any injuries. The first component of "legal cause" is "causation in fact." The test for cause in fact is, simply, would an injury have occurred were it not for an actor's conduct. The second component of "legal cause" is proximate cause, which is an actual cause that is a "substantial factor" in a resulting harm.
An abductor viciously assaulted and raped the victim and the evidence suggested that the sexual assault had been planned with the owner's property in mind. The assailant was never identified or caught. The victim filed a negligence claim against the owner of the property.
May a landowner, of an overgrown vegetation where, a third party’s rape occurred, be held liable?
The court held that the trial court properly set aside the verdict. No evidence demonstrated that the owner had any past experience that might have reasonably led him to foresee that violent criminal activity could have been caused by his negligent maintenance of the land.