Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Duty Definition:

A legal obligation for a person to conduct himself to a certain standard failing which he could be liable for negligence if damages occur in the result.

Related Terms: Duty of Care, Duty of Fair Representation

In Tropland v US Fidelity, Justice Jay Zainey of the United States District Court wrote:

"[G]enerally, a duty is defined as the obligation to conform to the standard of conduct associated with reasonable men in like circumstances. Whether a legal duty is owed by one party to another depends on the facts and circumstances of the case and the relationship of the parties."

Note the similar but distinct wording of this opinion of Justice Peter Eckerstrom of the Court of Appeals of Arizona in Henning v Montecini Hospital:

"Duty is an obligation, recognized by law, which requires the defendant to conform to a particular standard of conduct in order to protect others against unreasonable risks of harm."


  • Henning v. Montecini Hospitality, Inc., 172 P. 3d 430 (2007)
  • Tropland v. US Fidelity and Guar. Co., 553 F. Supp. 2d 669 (2008)

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