Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stewart v. Motts case brief

Stewart v. Motts case summary
539 Pa. 596, 654 A.2d. 535 (1995)
Tort Law

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Appellant sought review of the decision of the Superior Court (Pennsylvania), that affirmed a judgment in favor of appellee in appellant's negligence action seeking damages for personal injuries.

-Appellant was seriously burned while assisting appellee with the repair of an automobile fuel tank. -He sought review after judgment was entered in favor of appellant arguing that it was error to fail to instruct the jury that the law required an extraordinary or heightened duty of care to those employing a dangerous agency.

-Pennsylvania recognizes only one standard of care in negligence actions involving dangerous instrumentalities, and that that standard was that of reasonable care under the circumstances.

-The court noted that its standard incorporated the concept that the degree of care required changed with the circumstances and was proportionate to the danger involved in the act.
-It confirmed that the charge given to the jury properly informed it that the proper standard of care was reasonable or ordinary care under the circumstances, and that such a standard was in accordance with the law of the commonwealth.

The court affirmed the judgment in favor of appellee finding that it was not error to refuse to instruct the jury that extraordinary care was required when using gasoline, a dangerous substance, because the only standard of care available under the law was reasonable care under the circumstances, and that the jury was properly instructed that the care required was that which a reasonable man would exercise in proportion to the danger involved.

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