Friday, December 27, 2013

Schwartz v. Swan case brief

Schwartz v. Swan case brief summary
211 N.E.2d 122 (Ill. App. 1965)

Plaintiff accident victims appealed a judgment from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County (Illinois), which entered judgment in favor of defendant drivers in one of two severed negligence actions claiming personal injuries and loss of consortium against the drivers in two separate accidents involving one common victim.

Two automobile accidents involving a common victim occurred within 10 days. Two of the three victims of the first accident filed a negligence complaint against the drivers and a passenger in the three automobiles allegedly at fault in the two accidents. The drivers filed a motion to sever the victims' claims involving the two accidents, contending that a trial of issues involving two separate accidents would have prejudiced the drivers' substantial rights to a fair and just trial. The trial court severed the claims involving the second accident, consolidated the remaining claims with the claims of the other victim in the first accident, and after a trial, ruled in favor of the drivers in the first accident. The victims appealed, contending that the trial court erred in ordering a severance of claims involving the second accident and a consolidation of all claims involving the first accident.


  • The court reversed, remanded, and held that justice required that one victim be permitted to prosecute her claims against the drivers in a single trial. 
  • To hold otherwise required the common victim to prove in separate trials the certainty of the injuries resulting from each occurrence.
The court reversed the judgment in favor of the drivers in the victims' negligence action and remanded the case for further proceedings.

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