The Negligence Issue, 37 Yale Law Journal 1029 (1928)
It would be futile for the law to attempt to deal in detail by
way of precise anticipatory rule with each of the infinite number
of cases which can be classified as "negligence" cases., The
number of such situations in which the quality of conduct can be
measured by standards stated in terms *of conduct is relatively
small. The torrents of pertinent factors incident to any wholesale
attempt along this line are beyond classification and statement.
The qualities of personality are themselves numerous;
their shadings are countless; the conduct of individuals is incalculable
at present in its variety; the possible combinations of
these are literally infinite, as infinite as space and time. The
number of instances of conduct which could be labelled either
as negligent or non-negligent is beyond the limits of any catalog the law can make. So it is not surprising that in the face of infinity
the law does exactly what other sciences do in like situations.
It adopts a formula; a formula in terms which will permit
its problems to be reduced to a graspable size. This formula,
like many other formulas, tends quickly to become ritual and
it would seem that it is only this ritual which holds the law's
interest. This much it insists upon rigorously, but this is as
far as the law's science goes in this direction.
Date of Authorship for this Version
negligence, classification, formula
Green, Leon, "The Negligence Issue" (1928). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 4449.