Vanderbilt Law Review


Jerry L. Moore

First Page



The purpose of this Note is to examine certain aspects of the tort liability of nonprofessional persons who engage in a trade or craft which requires skill and abilities not ordinarily possessed by the average man. Since, with such a wide range of subjects, an adequate treatment of all the problems peculiar to each trade would require volumes, it is necessary at the outset to place rather narrow limitations on the scope of this analysis. Perhaps it is best to define the outside limits in the form of two "issues" as follows. When a person engages in a certain trade or craft and holds himself out to the public as competent to perform the specialized services ordinarily identified therewith, and when he undertakes to perform those specialized services for a consideration: (1) What is the standard of skill and care demanded of him in order that he not be held liable in tort for negligent performance; and (2) Under what circumstances will he be liable for negligent performance to persons not in privity of contract? Normally in a discussion of this type one would expect the defendants to be John Jones, village blacksmith, or Henry Smith, plumber. But the job of the artisan has been taken over to a large extent by large corporations and it is not unusual to find that the heating system in a residence was installed by the Standard Oil Company of California, or that E. I. DuPont DeNemours & Co. is being sued in tort for the negligent installation of a door handle. In spite of the names of the litigants, however, the "issues" as outlined above remain the same.

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Torts Commons