15 Mercer L. Rev. 477 (1963-1964)
Good Samaritan Laws - Good or Bad

handle is hein.journals/mercer15 and id is 485 raw text is: GOOD SAMARITAN LAWS-GOOD OR BAD?
By WILLIAM WHEELER BRYAN*
In March of 1962 the 'General Assembly of Georgia passed a Good
Samaritan Statute. It is the purpose of this comment to examine that
statute and similar statutes in order to determine the present status of
liability in regard to one who rendered aid in an emergency when there
is no duty upon him to act.
JUDICIAL HISTORY
It is recognized law that for a plaintiff to recover in a tort action for
negligence, there must be a right on the part of the plaintiff, a duty
owed by the defendant to the particular plaintiff, a breach of that duty
by the defendant, and harm as the result of the breach of duty.' Duty has
been defined as  . . . that which the law requires to be done or for-
borne to a determinate person, or to the public at large, being correla-
tive to a right vested in such person, or in the public.'2 The breach of
duty is the failure to come up to the standard of conduct'3 imposed on
the defendant by the relation between the defendant and plaintiff. Lord
Esher said, and it is applicable to our law,  (T) he question of li-
ability for negligence cannot asise at all until it is established that the
man who has been negligent owed some duty to the person who seeks to
make his liable for his negligence. . . . A man is entitled to be as negli-
gent as he pleases toward the whole world if he owes no duty to them.4
Therefore, the law places no liability on a person when there is no
duty on that person to act, notwithstanding that person has the capacity
to alleviate injury or further harm to an endangered or injured person.5
The law ordinarily does not undertake to dictate to the public its morals
or humanistic duty. This is the legal situation to which the term Good
*,Second year student, Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University.
I. PROSSER, TORTS §35 p. 165 (2d ed. 1955). Accord: 38 Am. JUR. Negligence §11
nn. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 (1941); Western Union Tel. Co. v. State, 82 Md. 293, 33
A. 763 (1896); 38 AM. JUR. Negligence §§12, 14 (1941) ; 65 C.J.S. Negligence
§2 p. 324 (1950).
2. Smith v. Clark Hardware Co., 100 Ga. 163, 28 S.E. 73 (1897).
3. PROSSER, TORTS 165, 191-199 (2d ed. 1955).
4. LeLievre v. Gould, [1893] 1 Q. B. 491, 497.
5. 38 AM. JUR. Negligence §16 (1941) ; 65 C.J.S. Negligence §4 (1950) ; Fickers v.
Southern Cotton Oil Co., 40 Ga. App. 841, 151 S.E. 688 (1930); Phillips v.
Roy-Jean, Inc., 84 Ga. App. 38, 65 S.E.2d 617 (1951).
6. Furthermore, it has been held that  . . . if a defendant owes a plaintiff no duty,
then refusal to act is not negligence. Lelenko v. Gimbel Bros. 158 Misc. 904, 287
N.Y.S. 134, aff'd, 247 App. Div. 867, 287 N.Y.S. 136 (1936). Note, 35 MIcH.
L. RFV. 503 (1936). See also Palsgraf v. L. I. R. R. Co., 248 N.Y. 339, 162 N.E.
99 (1928).

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