Davison v. Snohomish County Case Brief

Summary of Davison v. Snohomish County, Supreme Court of Wash. 1928

Facts Plaintiff was driving his car and proceeded to cross the Bascule bridge; the car rounded the corner, lost control, struck the railing, broke through it, and fell to the ground. Plaintiff’s suffered severe injuries and wrecked their automobile. Plaintiff sought action for damages, and Defendant plead contributory negligence on the plaintiff’s part. Verdict was for the plaintiff, and defendant moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (in other words, a new trial). Plaintiff contends the bridge was unsafe because of the guard rails insufficiency to prevent plaintiffs from skidding off the approach.

Issue Whether defendant is liable of negligence due to the construction and maintenance of the bridge approach?

Rule No, defendant is not liable of negligence due to the construction and maintenance of the bridge approach.

Analysis Due to the recent use of automobile on the road, the municipal liabilities are not required to protect long stretches of roadway w/ railings or guards capable of preventing such an accident. In dangerous situations, a guard or railing can be strengthened by driving posts into the earth, etc., but the same protection can not be expected from a guard rail alongside an elevated frame causeway ((jetty/land bridge)) or viaduct ((bridge/overpass)). Plaintiff’s testified the railings to some extent were rotted, and the court assumes this to be true, but not sufficient to take the case to jury upon the question of defendant’s negligence in connection w/ the railing at the time of the accident.

Conclusion Reversed w/ instr to dismiss the action.

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