Rylands v Fletcher
|The Jolly Contrarian Law Reports|
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The defendant, Fletcher, owned a mill and employed a contractor to build a reservoir — dramatic chord — over a disused mine — on their land. The contractors noticed the mines, but continued to work without blocking them up.
The reservoir burst. It leaked into the disused mine. From there it spread to a working mine owned by the claimant who happened to be — dramatic chord — a neighbour by the name of Rylands.
By analogy to the rule relating to domestic animals, Blackburn J thought Fletcher should be responsible for the damage as it was a natural consequence of a propensity of penned water that Fletcher knew about (that it was liable to make things wet if it escaped).