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Law School Case Brief

Cambria v. Jeffery - 29 N.E.2d 555

Rule:

A fact merely found in a case becomes adjudicated only when it is shown to have been a basis of the relief, denial of relief, or other ultimate right established by the judgment.

Facts:

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. The 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.

Issue:

Did an earlier judgment adjudicate that the present plaintiff through his servant was guilty of contributory negligence?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court reversed the directed verdict for defendant and entered judgment upon the verdict returned by the jury. 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.

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