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The modern doctrine of strict liability for dangerous substances and activities stems from Justice Blackburn's decision in Rylands v. Fletcher, 1 Exch. 265, decided in 1866 and affirmed two years later in Fletcher v. Rylands, L.R. 3 H.L. 330. Prosser on Torts, 449, § 59.


As applied to blasting operations, the doctrine has quite uniformly been held to establish liability, irrespective of negligence, for property damage sustained as a result of casting rocks or other debris on adjoining or neighboring premises. Patrick v. Smith, 75 Wash. 407, 134 Pac. 1076; Schade Brewing Co. v. Chicago, M. & P. S. R. Co., 79 Wash. 651, 140 Pac. 897; Bedell v. Goulter, 199 Ore. 344, 261 P. (2d) 842; Exner v. Sherman Power Constr. Co., 54 F. (2d) 510. But, see Klepsch v. Donald, 4 Wash. 436, 30 Pac. 991. There is a division of judicial opinion as to whether the doctrine of absolute liability should apply where the damage from blasting is caused, not by the casting of rocks and debris, but by concussion, vibration, or jarring. 92 A. L. R. 741, annotation. In the Patrick case, it was held that contractors who set off ...

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