Friday, October 10, 2014

Ney v. Yellow Cab Co. case brief summary

  1. Ney v. Yellow Cab Co. case brief summary

    F: The D company left the keys in the ignition of one of their cabs. The cab got stolen and it crashed into the P’s property.
    The P sues on the theory that the company violated a statute that forbids leaving a car unattended with the keys in the ignition. The D argues that the statute was not an anti-theft measure, but rather a public safety measure, and thus it does not establish a reasonable standard of conduct.
    AC affirmed TC judgment fixing liability on the D for violation of a section of the Uniform Traffic Act.
    I: Did the violation of the statute cause the injury, or did the act of the thief intervene such that the violation was not the proximate cause?
    R: P who claims perse neg. must prove that his injuries were proximately caused by D's violation of the statute
    The majority finds that the question of the intent of the statute is tied up with the question of proximate cause. The court argues that the cab company’s violation of statute was a proximate cause of the harm if the theft of the cab was foreseeable. If the theft of the car was unforeseeable, then the responsibility for the harm caused to the P would fall solely on the thief. The court finds that this question ought to be left to the jury. The jury apparently found that the D’s conduct was a proximate cause of the harm, and the majority refuses to “usurp” the jury’s power.

The dissenting justice believes that legislative intent is the key to this case. He believes that the statute was intended solely as a public safety measure. This justice almost seems to imply that the operative question is not what harm the D might have foreseen in leaving the car unattended, but what harm the legislature might have foreseen in crafting the statute.
C: affirmed

Co: statute does not relate with the theft.

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