Law School Case Brief
Dixie Drive It Yourself Sys. New Orleans Co. v. Am. Beverage Co. - 242 La. 471, 137 So. 2d 298 (1962)
Negligent conduct is a cause-in-fact of harm to another if it was a substantial factor in bringing about that harm.
The driver operating Dixie Drive It Yourself System New Orleans Co., Inc.'s (Dixie) vehicle rear-ended a vehicle owned by American Beverage Company (American Beverage), which was disabled in a lane of traffic on the highway. The driver of American Beverage's vehicle did not display any signals or take any action to warn approaching vehicles of his presence. The driver of Dixie's vehicle testified that he was not aware that the disabled vehicle was not moving until he was too close to avoid a collision. The trial court found that the accident was caused by the negligence of Dixie's driver and rejected Dixie's demands. The appellate court found that although American Beverage's driver was negligent in failing to place signal flags around the vehicle, such negligence was not the proximate cause of the accident.
Did the trial court err in finding that although American Beverage's driver was negligent in failing to place signal flags around the vehicle, such negligence was not the proximate cause of the accident?
The Court held that American Beverage's driver's failure to place warning flags 100 feet behind and in front of his vehicle constituted negligence per se pursuant to La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 32:241(B) and 32:442. The court further found that the driver of Dixie's vehicle did not have enough time to avoid the accident and that the collision would not have occurred if the statutory precautions to protect approaching traffic had been taken.
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