Monday, November 11, 2013

American Motorcycle Association v. Superior Court case brief

American Motorcycle Association v. Superior Court case brief summary
578 P.2d 899 (Cal. 1978)

CASE SYNOPSIS
The court ordered a hearing on its own motion after the Court of Appeal (California) granted a peremptory writ of mandate, for which defendant race sponsor had petitioned following the denial of defendant's motion for leave to file a cross-complaint by the trial court in an action brought by plaintiff race participant to recover damages incurred during a motorcycle race.

CASE FACTS

Defendant race sponsor filed a motion for leave to file a cross-complaint, seeking indemnity from the parents of plaintiff race participant and seeking a declaration of the "allocable negligence" of plaintiff's parents, who were not named as parties in an action brought by plaintiff to recover damages for injuries incurred in a motorcycle race. The trial court denied defendant's motion, the court of appeal granted a peremptory writ of mandate, and the court ordered a hearing on its own motion.

DISCUSSION

  • The court issued a writ of mandate, directing the trial court to permit defendant to file a cross-complaint against unjoined alleged concurrent tortfeasors. 
  • The court found that joint and several liability did not conflict with comparative negligence, so each tortfeasor whose negligence was a proximate cause of an indivisible injury remained liable for all compensable damages attributable to that injury. 
  • The court modified the equitable indemnity doctrine to permit a right of indemnity, under which liability among multiple tortfeasors would be apportioned on a comparative negligence basis, which was an evolution of the common law right of comparative indemnity.
CONCLUSION
The court issued a peremptory writ of mandate and directed the trial court to vacate its order, which denied defendant race sponsor leave to file its proposed cross-complaint, and to proceed in accordance with the court's views, because defendant, as a named defendant, could file a cross-complaint against any person, named as a party or not, from whom defendant sought total or partial indemnity.


Suggested Study Aids For Tort Law

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