Friday, December 27, 2013

Cambria v. Jeffery case brief

Cambria v. Jeffery case brief summary
29 N.E.2d 555 (1940)

Plaintiff appealed an order of the Superior Court (Massachusetts), which set aside a jury verdict for plaintiff and entered a verdict for defendant in plaintiff's action against defendant for alleged negligence.

Plaintiff's servant and defendant were involved in a collision. Defendant had previously brought an action against plaintiff for negligence. The lower court found that the collision was caused by negligence of both drivers and judgment was rendered in favor of plaintiff. Plaintiff then sued defendant for negligence. Jury returned a verdict for plaintiff but the lower court under leave reserved entered a verdict for defendant on the ground that the earlier judgment had adjudicated plaintiff through his servant, who was contributorily negligent. Plaintiff appealed.


  • The court held that the earlier judgment determined that defendant could not recover against plaintiff. 
  • Defendant was found to be contributorily negligent. 
  • The previous finding that plaintiff's servant was negligent had no effect in producing that judgment. 
  • Therefore, that judgment did not adjudicate that plaintiff was negligent.
The court reversed the directed verdict for defendant and entered judgment upon the verdict returned by the jury, holding that while the earlier judgment precluded defendant from recovering from plaintiff since plaintiff's servant who was operating the vehicle was contributorily negligent, it did not adjudicate whether plaintiff was negligent.

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