Sullivan v. Crabtree Case Brief

Summary of Sullivan v. Crabtree

Proof of Negligence

Facts: Plaintif sues damages for death of adult son, who was killed while a guest (riding) in a truck. The truck went off the highway and over a steep embankment. The road was a paved, first class road, and it was daytime and no ice/snow/precipitation on the road.

The case against the driver of the truck went to trial, and the verdict was a judgement in driver’s favor. A appeals in error.

Issue: Given that conflicting inferences could be drawn form the evidence of this case, was it for the jury to choose the inference as they deemed most appropriate, thereby making it appropriate to say there was evidence to support the jury finding for the defendant?

Holding: yes

Reasoning: The truck reck could be due to (1) drivers negligence or (2) no fault of his own, thought an unavoidable accident cased by the breaks failing or some other mechanism in the trick failing to work properly. Since both inferences are possible from the information in this case, it is proper that a jury should decide the issue of negligence.

Rule of Law: res ipsa loquitur merely makes a case for the jury. Jury chooses the inferences to be made from the facts, and jury decides the )’s negligence.

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