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People v. Beardsley 150 Mich. 206, 113 N.W. 1128 (1907)

Facts:

B with mistress drinking. She gets morphine and takes it. B doesn’t know. B finds out. She passes out. B puts here in basement with G to watch her. She dies

Issue(s):

Did B have a legal duty to act, an omission which involves criminal liability?

Ratio:

For a duty to arise one must have a legal obligation. In the absence of a legal obligation, there is no requirement of a person to assist others.

If person harmed is in a relationship of dependency then their failure to act to protect them can give rise to criminal liability

Analysis:

For manslaughter - It must be a duty imposed by law or by contract, and the omission to perform the duty must be the immediate and direct cause of death.

Ex’s of duties - domestic relationship, public duty, voluntary choice, or someone who has the care of a human being helpless from imprisonment, infancy, sickness, age, imbecility, or other incapacity of mind or body

Holding:

There is no legal duty by fact or by implication on Bs part


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