Mann ran over and killed the Davies’ donkey when he was driving "at a smartish pace" down the road in his carriage. The plaintiff mistakenly tied the donkey in such a way that it could wander on to the road.
- Who is liable when the plaintiff contributes to the outcome, but the defendant had the “last clear chance” of avoiding the injury?
Finding for the plaintiff.
The court limits the scope of the contributory negligence defence. They state that although the plaintiff was negligent, this negligence does not prohibit him from having a cause of action. Merely placing one's donkey on the road does not give the defendant permission to drive fast and run it over. The defendant had the last chance to prevent the injury, and his negligence was more blameworthy because a non-negligent driver would not have killed the donkey, despite the plaintiff's negligence.
A plaintiff still has a cause of action if it is the defendant's negligence that ultimately caused the injury, i.e. if a non-negligent defendant would not have caused the injury, despite the plaintiff's negligence, then the plaintiff can successfully sue the defendant.