Friday, December 6, 2013

Simblest v. Maynard case brief

Simblest v. Maynard case brief summary
427 F.2d 1 (1970)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff sought review of a decision of the district court granting defendant's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or, in the alternative, plaintiff claimed the district court erred in declining to charge the jury on the doctrine of last clear chance in a diversity negligence action stemming from a collision.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiff was involved in an intersection collision with a fire truck during a power blackout. The district court set aside the jury verdict for plaintiff, the driver of the car, and entered judgment notwithstanding the verdict for defendant, the fire truck operator, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(b). Plaintiff claimed that under the federal standard, the court below should not have considered evidence unfavorable to him and that only evidence favorable to him should have been considered.


DISCUSSION
  • The court found that under either the Vermont standard, allowing all evidence to be considered, or the more restrictive federal standard, plaintiff was contributorily negligent as a matter of law and that the district court properly set aside the verdict and entered judgment for defendant notwithstanding the verdict. 
  • The court rejected plaintiff's last clear chance argument, holding that the overwhelming evidence demonstrated that defendant could not have avoided the accident.
CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the grant of defendant's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, finding that plaintiff was contributorily negligent as a matter of law and that the overwhelming evidence demonstrated that defendant did not have the last clear chance to avoid the accident.

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