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Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2018

XI. Duty to Control Others

At common law, a person does not generally have an affirmative duty to control the conduct of another. An exception to this rule exists when a special relationship between parties is sufficient to establish a duty of care. Such a duty can be symmetrical (husband-wife) or asymmetrical (adult-minor, doctor-patient). The nature of the relationship determines the nature of the duty owed.

Tarasoff lays out the doctrine and arguments for and against the rule. Broadbent focuses on whether parents have a duty to protect their children from hurting themselves. Hawkins shows the bounds of a doctor’s duty to her patient, including the recurring theme of foreseeability of harm to a known plaintiff. The contrasting approaches in Charles and Kelly show the majority and minority (New Jersey) rules for social host liability. Einhorn discusses the landlord-tenant relationship and the limits of the duty within it. The extent to which the owner-invitee relationship requires protecting invitees from third party criminal acts is explored in Boyd.