Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Big Mack Trucking Co., Inc. v. Dickerson case brief

Big Mack Trucking Co., Inc. v. Dickerson case brief summary
497 S.W.2d 283 (Tex. 1973)

Appeal from judgment of the Court of Civil Appeals (Texas), which affirmed trial court's judgment against petitioner trucking company in case where jury found that negligence of petitioner's employee proximately caused death of another employee.

Respondents' decedent, employee of petitioner trucking company, was killed when a parked truck that was unattended by driver rolled forward and crushed him. Respondents brought suit, and jury returned verdict against petitioner. The appellate court affirmed.

  • The court reversed and remanded for a new trial. 
  • The court held that evidence of driver's negligence must be admissible against petitioner to support judgment against petitioner.
  • The court found that the evidence offered was hearsay and that none of it was admissible under any hearsay-rule exception in Texas law. 
  • The court rejected respondents' argument that driver's statements to police after the accident qualified against petitioner as admissions of a party, holding that no facts had been introduced to show that petitioner authorized driver to speak about the accident. 
  • Court also held that driver's statements could not qualify as spontaneous exclamations because court required proof that declarant was not available to testify at trial.
Court reversed and remanded for a new trial, finding that none of the evidence supporting judgment was admissible because it did not qualify under any of the hearsay-rule exceptions in Texas law.

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