Suppose your neighbor asks you to babysit their cat.
- The neighbor has to run an errand so they leave it with me.
- Someone else breaks into my house and steals the cat, along with its diamond necklace.
- Do they have any chance of successfully suing in court for negligence leading to a loss?
The real case I'm thinking of is
- VISA issues a credit card to John.
- John sends me a copy of their VISA bill in order to get some financial advice.
- The bill happens to contain their credit card number although I did not go out of my way to ask for it.
- Before I can shred the paper, someone breaks into my house and steals it. In fact, my house contained millions of people's statements and they steal them all.
- VISA sues me for negligence leading to damages because the theft will likely lead to fraud which will cause them damage. They (correctly) point out that I did not take reasonable action to secure the paperwork.
- There was no legal agreement between myself and John, nor between myself and VISA. I did not intentionally give out credit numbers. At the same time, I did not go out of my way to secure them either.
- Damages may have occurred, but I never promised to secure the papers nor to accept liability in the case of their loss.
Questions related to this scenario are
- Does VISA have a legal leg to stand on?
- Is there a legal precedent in this (or equivalent) case?
If we weren't talking about credit cards, I would have expected John to be ultimately liable but we all know that credit card companies do not hold card holders responsible for unintentional fraud.