According to the Associated Press, a business that stores molasses-based cattle feed is being sued by neighbors for allowing 10,000 gallons of the substance to leak from a tank at Performance Plus Idaho.
The plaintiffs are owners of an auto repair shop where the molasses allegedly coated the tires of 14 vehicles causing damages of $81,000 dollars. The plaintiffs have filed suit and alleged that Performance Plus was negligent and failed to properly store and transfer the molasses.
This case illustrates the various legal theories that can be used in pursuing a claim . The Plaintiffs sued under a theory of common law negligence. That is that the defendant’s negligence in storing the molasses was the cause of the leak and damage to the cars. One could also argue that the legal cause of action based on strict liability applies here. Under this claim the plaintiffs do not have to show fault (negligence), if they can prove liability should be imposed on the business for harming Plaintiff by keeping large quantities of a hazardous substance on their property with no reciprocal benefit to the plaintiff. The reason behind this legal method of recovery is that the business is in a much better position to take the special precautions to avoid this exact kind of disaster, and if they fail, they should be responsible even if the Plaintiff cannot prove exactly how the company was negligent in the storage of the molasses.
While we hope that noone pours molasses on our cars, we are aware that things like this happen and we are thankful that we have a legal system that allows for recovery when we are hurt or our property is damaged through no fault of our own.