Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Siegler v. Kuhlman case brief

Siegler v. Kuhlman case brief summary
502 P.2d 1181 (1972)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff appealed a judgment of the Court of Appeals (Washington) finding defendant not negligent in maintenance and operation of truck that caused accident resulting in decedent's death and not liable for death of decedent as decedent was found to be contributorily negligent.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiff appealed judgment of lower court finding defendant not liable for death of plaintiff's decedent.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The lower court found defendant was not negligent in care, maintenance, and operation of freight truck that overturned on highway spilling thousands of gallons of gasoline.

DISCUSSION

  • The court reversed, finding defendant liable on a theory of strict liability. 
  • The court imposed strict liability on defendant because the transportation of gasoline as freight by truck was an abnormally dangerous activity. 
  • The court found transporting gasoline by truck was an activity that involved a high degree of risk of harm or injury that could not be eliminated by the exercise of reasonable care. 
  • Strict liability should be imposed because evidence tending to prove or disprove negligence is lost in a gasoline explosion.
CONCLUSION
Court reversed the judgment and found defendant liable for death of plaintiff's decedent by imposing strict liability on defendant, because the transportation of gasoline as freight by truck was an abnormally dangerous activity.

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