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DEJECTI EFFUSIVE ACTIO If any person threw or poured anything from the room of a house upon a place commonly frequented by people, and thereby caused damage, the praetor's edict gave the injured party an action against the occupier of the house or part of the house from which the thing had been thrown or poured. There was the same liability on account of a thing which had been suspended from a building, and which by its fall injured people, as for a thing which had been actually thrown.

The action is said to be given against the occupier on account of the public interest in the security of traffic (Dig. 9, 3, 1.1). It was not necessary to show, in order to maintain the action, that the occupier was personally [p. 1.610]to blame: hence as the existence of either dolus or culpa is implied in the nature of a delict, the liability in question is not classified by Justinian in his Institutes under obligationes ex delicto, but under obligationes quasi ex delicto. A defendant who had been condemned in this action on account of the wrongful act of another had a claim to recover his damages from the wrongdoer (regressus). If several persons inhabited a house and any injury was caused by something thrown or poured from it, the injured party could recover from any one of them the entire damages. The action was to some extent modified by the particular character of the injury done. If a free man (homo liber) was killed or wounded, the action was actio popularis, i.e. it could be maintained by anyone. If the man was killed, a penalty of fifty aurei was recoverable; if only wounded, the amount of damages was left to the discretion of the judex. When the action was brought by the injured party himself, the expenses of a medical attendant, loss of time, and loss of a man's earnings during the time of his cure, or loss of future earnings by reason of his having been rendered incapable of making such earnings, were taken into account in the assessment of damages. The action was limited to the period of a year (annus utilis), unless it was brought by the injured party himself.

In case of injury of any other kind than that done to a free man, the plaintiff recovered double the amount of the damage which he had suffered; but in this case the action could only be brought by the injured party or by his heir.

As many of the houses in Rome were lofty, and inhabited to the top by the poor, and probably as there were very imperfect means for carrying off rubbish and other accumulations, it was necessary to provide against accidents which might happen by such things being thrown through the window (Cic. Agr. 2.3. 5, § 96; Hor. Ep. 1.1, 91; Juv. 3.268, 10.17). (Inst. 4.5, § § 1, 2; Dig. 9, 3; Glück, Pand. 10.392; Wys, Haftung für fremde Culpa, p. 66.)

[G.L] [E.A.W]

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