Monday, November 11, 2013

Roberts v. Ring case brief

Roberts v. Ring case brief summary
173 N.W. 437 (Minn. 1919)

Plaintiff, father of an injured minor, appealed a decision of the district court for Steele County (Minnesota), which denied his motion for a new trial after a jury returned a verdict in favor of defendant driver in the father's action to recover damages for injuries to his minor son caused by the driver's alleged negligence.


The driver, whose sight and hearing were defective, struck the child with his automobile when the child ran out from behind a buggy that was approaching the driver from the opposite direction. The father brought the instant action on behalf of his son, who was seven years old, to recover damages. The jury found for the driver, and the trial court denied the father's motion for a new trial.


  • On review, the court reversed, holding that the questions of both the driver's negligence and the child's negligence were properly for the jury. 
  • However, the trial court did not give the jury the proper standard of care to be applied to the boy of seven. 
  • In addition, the driver's infirmities, which the jury was instructed they could consider, did not tend to relieve him from the charge of negligence, but presented only a reason why the driver should have refrained from operating an automobile on a crowded street where care was required to avoid injuring other travelers, and should not have been considered as extenuating. 
  • Thus, the trial court should have instructed that the driver's negligence was to be judged by the standard of care usually exercised by the ordinarily prudent normal man.


The court reversed the trial court's judgment in favor of the driver.

Suggested Study Aids For Tort Law

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