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Facts[]

Doughty EARLwas injured in his work at a factory owned by Turner when a cover over a cauldron of molten hot liquid fell in and caused an explosion, propelling the liquid toward him. It was not known that the cover would explode when it fell in the liquid. Turner was found liable at trial and damages awarded, which they appealed.

Issue[]

  1. Was the specific cause of injury foreseeable?

Decision[]

Appeal allowed. Specific cause of injury not reasonably foreseeable.

Reasons[]

Diplock states that in this case the ratio of Wagon Mound must be applied. Although this is similar to Hughes, there is a crucial difference. In that case the boy was injured as a result of the defendants' negligently leaving the manhole uncovered. Although the specific injury was unforeseeable, the negligent act directly led to it. In this case, the only duty owed to Doughty was to ensure that he would not be injured if the top fell in the molten liquid and splashed some over the side. This was prevented – the only reason he was injured was because of the unforeseeable explosion. Turner did not have a duty to protect Doughty from this, as they could not have foreseen it.

Ratio[]

If there is no duty owed to the plaintiff in regard to the initial action that led consequentially to the injury, then the defendants are not liable for damages.

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