Gorris v. Scott – Case Brief
Gorris v. Scott, L. R. 9 Exch. 125, 43 L. J. Exch. N. S. 92, 30 L. T. N. S. 431, 22 Week. Rep. 575 (1874).
Facts: Gorris (P) hired Scott (D) to transport sheep. The Contagious Disease Animals Act required shippers to place animals in pens and to place their feet in footholds during shipping to prevent the spread of disease. Scott did not observe the statute and the sheep were lost overboard during the trip. Gorris sued to recover damages based on Scott’s negligence in failing to tie down the animals’ feet in compliance with the statute. D claimed that the statute prescribed its own penalty for violations, and that the harm suffered by P was not the sort of harm the statute was designed to prevent.
Issue: Is one liable for a violation of a statute if the damage complained of is separate from the purpose of the statute?
Holding and Rule: No. One is not liable for a violation of a statute if the damage complained of is apart from the purpose of the statute.
The court held that D was not liable under the statute because the purpose of the act was different from the type of harm suffered by P. The statute was designed to prevent the spread of disease, not to keep sheep from washing overboard. The court held that D’s failure to obey the statute was not the proximate cause of P’s injury.
Disposition: Judgment for D.