We often discuss liability issues associated with promotional events. Now, it seems that the French are dealing with the same problem. An Internet company canceled a promotional event in which it promised to hand out thousands of dollars in cash. The result was violence as the crowd took out their disappointment on police and parked cars. The site for Mailorama still shows a bus throwing money.
A crowd of about 5,000 people turned ugly near the Eiffel Town when they learned of the cancelation of the event by Mailorama.fr
One of the leading authorities in the area of promotional liability is the Weirum v. RKO decision, holding a radio station liable for injuries caused to a third party when teenagers drove recklessly to find The Real Don Steele in his marked van. The court held that the reckless driving was a foreseeable response of teenagers to the promise of free concert tickets.
Should Mailorama be liable for the damage to third parties for the cancelation of the event? Normally intentional torts and crimes cut off proximate causation. However, as in cases like Weirum there are exceptions when such actions are foreseeable. If the event had been held, there would likely have been injuries given the size of the crowd and apparent lack of preparation. This strikes me as a uniquely reckless promotion by the company.
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