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Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2013

Cynthia Steinhauser, an infant, by Carl P. Steinhauser, her guardian ad litem, and Carl P. Steinhauser, individually, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. The Hertz Corporation, a corporation of the State of Delaware authorized to do business in New York, and Louis J. Ponzini, Defendants-Appellees.

Headnote

Should a defendant be liable if their wrongful act that triggers a harmful state in a latent condition? Defendant got into a car accident with plaintiff's family. Before the collision, the plaintiff had a predisposition to schizophrenia. After the collision, plaintiff's mental condition swiftly deteriorated. Plaintiff was diagnosed with schizophrenia and hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Expert medical testimony suggests that the car crash was a "precipitating factor" in the plaintiff's outbreak of schizophrenia, but not the sole cause.