Byrne v. Boadle Court of Exchequer, 1863. 2 H. & C.
722, 159 Eng.Rep. 299.
Barrel falls from a building, hold the company liable unless
they can prove it was a non-negligent dropping of a barrel out a
who was a flour dealer, argued that the plaintiff must lead evidence
as to the facts in order to establish negligence.
Per Pollock CB (Chief Baron): "There are certain cases of which it
may be said res ipsa loquitur,
and this seems one of them. In some cases the courts have held that
the mere facts of the accident having occurred is evidence of
negligence, as, for instance, in the case of railway collisions. If
an article, calculated to cause damage is put in the wrong place and
does mischief, I think that those whose duty it was to put it in the
right place are prima facie responsible, and if there is any state
of facts to rebut the presumption of negligence, they must prove
Byrne was walking past Boadle’s shop and suddenly a barrel of flour
hit him in the head. Byrne sued for negligence. He gets nonsuited
(dismissed) for failing to make a prima facie case for negligence,
but the court indicates that if the Court of Exchequer will buy the
plaintiff’s case, the plaintiff can get £50.