Mcintyre v. Balentine case brief
Facts: Car accident, two parties were both driving south on the highway when the defendant hit the plaintiff. Dispute of chronology, but it is undisputed that both had alcohol and that defendant was speeding. Defendant said plaintiff was contributorily negligent, the jury found that it was a 50/50 split and defendant entitled to win. Plaintiff wanted comparative negligence so sued.
Decision: Affirmed in part and reversed in part, new trial granted under comparative fault doctrine.
Reasoning: In Tennesee, the plaintiff was barred from recovery if he contributed to his own injury because the plaintiff must be regarded as the author of his own misfortune. However, there were exceptions made to this rule in federal and state law adopting comparative negligence. Courts decided to remove the contributory negligence rule in the name of justice, and do not want to bar people who were rightfully injured and deserve money from recovering. That would not serve justice. Court looked at different forms of comparative fault and decided that plaintiff still deserves not to recover when he is grossly at fault.
*Comparative fault can be pure, where the plaintiff is responsible 90% he can still recover 10%. Or rule can be that plaintiffs negligence either does not exceed 50 percent or is less than 49%. Basically, if he is 50% at fault in the 49% or less, then he cannot recover but if he is 50% responsible in 50% states, then he can still recover.
49% = less than the defendant’s negligence for recovery
50% = equal to the defendant’s negligence for recovery
Holding: A plaintiff cannot recover if his fault for his own injury is either equal to, or exceeds the defendant’s fault under modified comparative fault doctrine.
621 n2: Only four states allow for contributory negligence; every other state has finally adopted comparative negligence.
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