This article takes a new look at an old problem that lies at the heart of tort law: How does one define the scope of liability when a negligent actor causes unforeseeable harm? This topic once drew the attention of such legal giants as Benjamin Cardozo, Robert Keeton, and William Prosser. Today it seems largely forgotten, except for a class or two in first year torts courses.
The occasion for examining the unforeseeable harm issue is the proposed revision of the Restatement (Third) of Torts by the American Law Institute ("ALI"). In a tentative draft of portions of the Restatement (Third), Professor Michael Green and Dean William Powers ("the reporters") have included a section that adopts what they call the "risk standard" as the general test in unforeseeable harm cases.
Proximate Cause and the American Law Institute: The False Choice Between the "Direct Consequences" Test and the "Risk Standard"
, 37 U. Rich. L. Rev. 389
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/fac_artchop/1270