Friday, October 19, 2012

Pipher v. Parsell case brief

Pipher v. Parsell (2007)
930 A.2d 890

Procedural History
•    Plaintiff first passenger appealed a judgment as a matter of law in favor of defendant driver by the Superior Court of the State of Delaware, in and for Kent County; the first passenger claimed that the driver was negligent in allowing a second passenger to grab the steering wheel of the vehicle in which they were riding.

•    As the parties were traveling at 55 miles per hour in the driver’s truck, the second passenger unexpectedly grabbed the steering wheel causing the truck to veer off onto the shoulder of the road. Approximately 30 seconds later, the second passenger again yanked the steering wheel, causing the truck to leave the roadway, slide down an embankment, and strike a tree. The first passenger was injured as a result of the collision.

•    If future harmful actions are foreseeable does a driver have a duty to prevent such harms?

•    If future harmful actions are foreseeable a driver does have a duty to prevent such harm.

•    A driver owes a duty of care to her or his passengers because it is foreseeable that they may be injured if, through inattention or otherwise, the driver involves the car she or he is operating in a collision.
•    A minor who operates a motor vehicle on the highways of Delaware will be held to the same standard of care and must accord his or her own passengers the same diligence and protection that is required of an adult motorist under similar circumstances.
•    When a driver has notice that a passenger has created a dangerous situation, the driver is expected to make a reasonable attempt to prevent the passenger from taking such actions again.
•    In general, where the actions of a passenger that cause an accident are not foreseeable, there is no negligence attributable to the driver. But, when actions of a passenger that interfere with the driver’s safe operation of the motor vehicle are foreseeable, the failure to prevent such conduct may be a breach of the driver’s duty to either other passengers or to the public.

•    The judgment was reversed, and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

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