Blaak v. Davidson Case Brief

Summary of Blaak v. Davidson

P/S: Trial court jury brought in a verdict for the D; trial court entered JNOV (judgment entered for one party even though jury verdict has been rendered for the opposing party); D appealed

F: D was driving an 18,000 pound gasoline truck; a dust cloud engulfed the truck and completely obscured visibility; D reduced his speed to 5 to 10 MPH; truck struck the rear of the P’s car, which had slowed to 2 to 3 MPH

I: When the visibility of a driver of a vehicle is completely obscured by atmospheric conditions is the driver negligent as a matter of law for failure to stop the vehicle or should the question of negligence be submitted to the jury to determine based on surrounding circumstances?

H: “A consideration of whether an absolute rule should be formulated must focus upon the subject matter involved and the potential variables as to facts and circumstances."

Rule: When vision is obscured, the jury should determine whether failure to stop constitutes negligence under the general test of whether act was consistent with a reasonable man.


  • Attempt to set absolute rule had proven unworkable and unjust
  • “Only in the most unusual and exceptional circumstances indicating clear fault and liability should the court hold defendant negligent as a matter of law"

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