Gulf Refining Co. v. Williams


–          Williams (Plaintiff) was injured from a defect in a gasoline container which caused a fire.

–          Williams worked for Gulf Refining Co. (Defendant).

–          Gulf Refining Co. argues:

  • That the explosion that resulted from drawing gasoline from a drum when taking off the bung cap is an unusual, extraordinary,  and improbable occurrence…And that they should not be held liable for failure to anticipate the danger of such an improbable occurrence.


– Was the company negligent?


– YES.


– Foreseeability is not the balance of probability, but the existence of some real likelihood of some damage and the likelihood is of such appreciable weight and moment as to induce, or which reasonably should induce, action to avoid it on part of the person with a reasonably prudent mind.

Courts Reasoning

–          The proof must establish the fact as a probability using that word in its ordinary and common acceptation.

–          It is not whether the thing will probably happen but whether it is likely to happen, even though the likelihood  may not be sufficient to amount to a comparative probability.

–          The drum, which was not in good repair, was in fact very old and had been complained about prior to this situation that it needed fixing.

–          The defendant should have known of the condition of the bung cap and should have reasonably anticipated it as a likelihood of weight and moment.  A sudden fire or explosion would be caused by the unsafe condition of the cap.


– Affirmed in favor of Williams, the original plaintiff.

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