Stewart v. Motts
539 Pa. 596, 654 A.2d 535 (1995)
- Stewart went to Motts' car repair shop and offered to help
repair a gas tank. Stewart ended up getting burned in a gasoline fire. He sued.
- The Trial Court found for Motts. Stewart appealed
- Motts successfully argued that gasoline is inherently
dangerous, and Stewart knew the risks when he offered to help.
- The Trial Court found that although Motts owed Stewart the legal duty to provide reasonable
care. But even when taking reasonable care, sometimes people get
hurt by dangerous substances.
- The Appellate Court affirmed.
- The Appellate Court found that reasonable care is always required, but the care
that is "reasonable" varies with the danger involved in the act and is
proportionate to it.
- Basically, different situations require different levels
of care, but the level of care required is also what would be reasonable
for the particular set of circumstances.
- However, accidents occur even when reasonable care
is taken. The Court found that courts shouldn't require a higher standard of care beyond
- This ruling represents the majority view of what level of
care is required. However, other courts have found differently.
- For example, in Wood v. Groh (269 Kan. 420, 7 P.3d
1163 (2000)), the Kansas Supreme Court found that extraordinary care is required
when the danger is great.