• The gunshot incident on the movie set of RUST  shows that  difficult fact patterns create hard legal issues. Somehow a live bullet wound up in the chamber of a “Cold Gun” and a person died and another was injuried. To date, there has been no public announcement about how the gun, obviously supposed to be unloaded, came to have a live round.
  • So, how does the law handle a case where it may be exceedingly difficult to show causation? This is where  one of the oldest doctrines in Anglo-American Jurisprudence may be applicable.
  • Res Ipsa Loquitur, translates literally as ‘the thing speaks for itself’, and is applied, sparingly, in cases where  negligence is all-to apparent, but causation may be difficult to prove.
  • Assignment: Submit a paper which discusses, briefly, the Res Ipsa doctrine, and use these two negligence cases to illustrate how the  Res Ipsa rule of evidence/jury instruction is utilized.
  • Monforti v. Kmart, Inc.,  690 So2d 631 (DCA 5 1997)
  • Nodurft v. Service Centre,  884 So2d 395 (DCA 4 2004)


  • 401.7 RES IPSA LOQUITUR If you find that ordinarily the [incident] [injury] would not have happened without negligence, [and that the (name the item) causing the injury was in the exclusive control of (defendant) at the time it caused the injury,]* \
  • [and that the (name the item) causing the injury was in the exclusive control of (defendant) at the time the negligent act or omission, if any, must have occurred and that the (name the item), after leaving (defendant’s) control, was not improperly used or handled by others or subjected to harmful forces or conditions,]*
  •  you may infer that (defendant) was negligent unless, taking into consideration all of the evidence in the case, you find that the (describe the event) was not due to any negligence on the part of (defendant).
  •  NOTE ON USE FOR 401.7 *Use the second bracketed paragraph in cases involving exploding bottles, see, e.g., Burkett v. Panama City Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 93 So. 2d 580 (Fla. 1957), or other instrumentalities that are no longer in the defendant’s control at the time of plaintiff’s injury. Compare Wagner v. Associated Shower Door Co., 99 So. 2d 619 (Fla. 3d DCA 1958). Use the first bracketed paragraph in all other cases.

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