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Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2018

H. R . Moch Company, Inc., Appellant, v. Rensselaer Water Company, Respondent.,

"The Failure to Supply Water During a Fire"


In questions of duty, should courts draw a distinction between inaction that has the consequence of harm, and positive action that creates harm?

The defendant water company contracts with a city to supply the city with water. While the contract was still in force, a fire broke out and spread to the plaintiff’s warehouse, destroying it and its contents. The plaintiff alleges that the destruction of his warehouse was caused by defendant’s negligence in failing to provide an adequate supply of water to combat the fire, despite prompt notification of the fire, the capacity to properly supply the water, and the contractual obligation to supply water in the manner needed.