159 Eng. Rep. 299 (Exch. 1863).

A watershed opinion establishing the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.

Plaintiff was injured when a barrel of flour fell on him from an upstairs window as he was walking by Defendant’s shop. Defendant argued that, while the evidence established that a barrel had fallen on Plaintiff from the upstairs window of Defendant’s shop, it was not enough to establish negligence.

The court disagreed with Defendant.  Chief Baron Pollock authored the court’s opinion in which he reasoned that, “[a] barrel could not roll out of a warehouse without some negligence” and “that such a case would, beyond all doubt, afford prima facie evidence of negligence.”  Pollock concluded that “the plaintiff who was injured by [the barrel was] not bound to show that it could not fall without negligence, but if there [were] any facts inconsistent with negligence it [was] for the defendant to prove them.”

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