Thursday, January 31, 2013

Burke v. Schaffner case brief

Burke v. Schaffner case summary
683 N.E.2d 861 (Ohio Ct. App. 1996)
Tort Law

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Appellant challenged an order of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (Ohio), which entered judgment on a jury verdict in favor of appellee passenger in connection with appellant's claim that he was injured when the passenger stepped on the accelerator of a truck.


-Appellant brought an action against the driver and the passenger to recover from injuries sustained when he was pinned by the driver's truck.
-The passenger stepped on the accelerator of the truck when moving to make room for other passengers getting into the truck.
-Appellant settled his claim with the driver and tried his case against the passenger.
-Appellant did not call the passenger as a witness, and the passenger offered no evidence.
-Appellant's motions for a directed verdict and to reopen his case to call the passenger as a witness were denied, and the trial court entered judgment in favor of the passenger.

-On review, the court affirmed, finding that (1) a directed verdict was not warranted because reasonable minds could have differed as to whether the passenger negligently caused the injuries by stepping on the truck's accelerator; (2) the doctrine of alternative liability did not apply to shift to the passenger the burden of proving that she did not cause the harm because appellant claimed that only the passenger acted tortiously, to the exclusion of the driver; (3) because the burden did not shift from appellant, the passenger was not required to present any evidence that she did not cause the harm; and (4) appellant was required to present all of his evidence during his case in chief.

-Under the alternative liability theory, a plaintiff must still prove: (1) that two or more defendants committed tortious acts, and (2) that plaintiff was injured as a proximate result of the wrongdoing of one of the defendants. Only then will the burden shift to the defendants to prove that they were not the cause of plaintiff's injuries. This doctrine does not apply in cases where there is no proof that the conduct of more than one defendant has been tortious.
-The rationale for the doctrine of alternative liability, and the burden-shifting exception, is not applicable in circumstances where only one person has acted tortious.

CONCLUSION: The court affirmed the judgment.

Interested in learning how to get the top grades in your law school classes? Want to learn how to study smarter than your competition? Interested in transferring to a high ranked school?

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Evolution of Legal Marketing: From Billboards to Digital Leads Over the last couple of decades, the face of legal marketing has changed a l...