Weirum v. RKO General, Inc. case brief summary
539 P.2d 36 (1975)
Defendant radio station appealed from
the order of the Superior Court of Ventura County (California), which
entered judgment in favor of plaintiffs, decedent's wife and
children, in their action for wrongful death, and denied defendant's
motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.
CASE FACTS Plaintiffs, decedent's wife and
children, brought an action for wrongful death against defendant
radio station. Decedent's car was negligently forced off the highway
by one of two minors who were attempting to follow defendant disc
jockey's automobile as part of a contest run by defendant.
court entered judgment in favor of plaintiffs.
On appeal, the court
The court held that it was foreseeable that defendant's
youthful listeners would race to arrive first at a location to claim
a prize, and in their haste disregard highway safety.
The harm to decedent, although caused by third parties, was
stimulated by defendant's broadcast.
The principle that one is not
obligated to act as a good samaritan did not apply because
plaintiffs' complaint was grounded upon an affirmative act of
defendant which created an undue risk of harm.
The court held that
the trial court's recall of the jury for further instructions on the
third day of deliberations as to the issue of duty of care was not
prejudicial because its prefatory remarks minimized any tendency of
the jury to be unduly impressed by the circumstances under which the
instruction was given.
CONCLUSION The court affirmed the trial court's
judgment in favor of plaintiffs, decedent's wife and children,
because the reckless conduct by defendant radio station's youthful
listeners in disregarding highway safety was foreseeable and
constituted the hazard to which decedent was exposed.
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