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Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2013

Hubbard-Hall Chemical Co. v. Silverman

Headnote

Plaintiffs are administrators suing on the behalf of two deceased farm workers. The farm workers were natives of Puerto Rico; one could read some English, the other could not read any. The defendant chemical company sold a highly lethal (to human beings) pesticide to the employer of the farm workers. After a full day of dusting, the farm workers died that night due to exposure to the pesticide. Despite evidence showing that the defendant had complied with Department of Agriculture labeling requirements, at trial the jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. Should federal laws be allowed to set the standard of care for a negligence action through the NPS doctrine? Remember that negligence claims—like much of tort law—arise from a state’s common law.