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What duty did they have?

Just because something bad happens to you, it is not necessarily someone else’s fault. It might be no one’s fault, just your bad luck. We live in a sue-happy society, and if you sue, you must prove the other person was liable.
Sometimes, I explain liability as, did the other person have a duty to you?  Was the duty to have done something, to have taken an action or not to have done something? You have a duty not to run red lights; a duty to do quality work; and duty to live up to your warranty; a duty to not intentionally injure someone.

A man drove his car through an automatic car wash, and his muffler was ripped from the car. There is no doubt the muffler was torn off as it went through the defendant’s car wash. But what duty did the car wash have to him? The floor of the car wash was smooth with the exception of two little bumps to indicate where to stop the car. Did the car wash have a duty to design its equipment so a car with only 2 inches of clearance would not be damaged?  
 
Another case was when a plumber installed a water line in a house. Six years later, it started to leak and ruined the ceiling. A licensed plumber must guarantee his work for two years, not six years What duty did the plumber have to the homeowner?

The court was never told why the pipe started to leak. Was it a manufacturing defect or was it installed according to code? By what theory did the plumber have an obligation to extend his warranty to six years? The plaintiff believed, just because it failed was enough. The court ruled the plaintiff must show that the plumber did something wrong, that the plumber had a duty to the plaintiff that extended past the two-year warranty.

A man sued the dentist because he was not happy with his dentures. The dentist did the best he could, but the man’s mouth was in such bad shape he would never be happy. The dentist has a duty to do the best he can with what he has to work with.

The buyer of a house sued the seller because of a hidden defect. The seller had a duty to inform the buyer of any known defects. If the seller did not know of the defect, he had no duty to inform the buyer.

LESSON: The fact that something bad happens is not enough proof that the other party was liable for your damages.