One of the most outstanding jurists of our time, Justice Benjamin Cardozo, articulated a principle spanning the "seamless web" of the law which, unfortunately, has been obscured by the attempts of courts, casebook writers, and law professors to pigeonhole the principle into familiar categories. Justice Cardozo established the principle that a person who undertakes a task is liable for injury to remote third parties, regardless of lack of privity, which arises from the person's negligent performance of the task. Cardozo also enunciated an exception to this rule which developed into a widely accepted opposing rule. This Article first traces the origin of Cardozo's principle and the opposing rule. Next, it examines the attempts by courts and casebook writers to categorize those cases which are properly governed by Cardozo's principle under various familiar legal categories. This Article next concludes that these attempted classifications are erroneous and obscure the applicability of the principle in numerous areas of the law, and that arguments against applying the principle are unpersuasive. Finally, this Article demonstrates how Cardozo's principle has been applied in cases directly or indirectly within the real property law category and concludes that courts should continue to recognize and extend application of the principle to all areas of the law.
Robert Kratovil, Cardozo Revisited: Liability to Third Parties; A Real Property Perspective, 7 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 259 (1984).