Vaughn v. Menlove Common Pleas,

3 Bing. (N.C.) 467,132 Eng. Rep. 490 (1837)


Menlove (D) built a hayrick near the boundary of his property and next to Vaughan's (P) property. D was told on many occasions over a five-week period that the rick was a fire hazard. D ignored the warnings by indicating to all that he had insurance and he would chance it. D did build a chimney through the rick. The rick burned from the heat generated and the fire damaged the surrounding cottages. P sued D for damages claiming D was negligent in maintaining the rick in a dangerous condition. The trial court instructed the jury that they were to determine if D was grossly negligent under the standard of care of that of a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances. A verdict was given to P. A rule nisi for a new trial was obtained because the jury should have been instructed to determine whether D had acted bona fide to his best judgment and not under the standard of ordinary prudence.