Stone v. Bolton – Case Brief

Stone v. Bolton, 1 K.B. 201 (C.A. 1950).

Case Summary

Facts: Stone (P) was struck in the head by a ball that flew out of a cricket field across the street from her home. Stone sued Bolton (D), the owner of the cricket field for public nuisance and common law negligence on the grounds that the field did not have a fence high enough to prevent balls from flying out of the field. Bolton claimed that only 6-10 balls had escaped the field in the previous 30 years and it was therefore an unforeseeable risk. P appealed the trial court’s judgment in favor of D and the appeals court reversed in favor of P.

Issue: Is there a duty to prevent a risk that is reasonably foreseeable?

Holding and Rule: Yes. If an injury is the result of a reasonably foreseeable cause, the person responsible is liable for damages because he has a duty to take reasonable measures to prevent it. The court held that in this case balls had previously been hit out of the field and it was therefore reasonable foreseeable that it could happen again.

Disposition: Affirmed – judgment for P.

Notes: See Bolton v. Stone for the result of D’s appeal in this case.

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