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Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2013

Steinhauser v. Hertz Corp.

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.