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Law School Case Brief

Summers v. Tice - 190 P.2d 963 (CAL. DIST. CT. APP. 1948)

Rule:

In Oliver v. Miles, 144 Miss. 852, 110 So. 666, 50 A.L.R. 357, two hunters fired at partridges across a public highway in reckless disregard of the rights of persons using this road, and a traveler on the highway was shot. In the absence of proof as to which hunter fired the shot causing the injury to the third person who was not of their party, the court held that the defendants were jointly engaged in the unlawful enterprise of shooting across a highway and were jointly liable.

Facts:

Plaintiff brought a negligence suit against Respondents for the loss of his right eye and lip injuries. Plaintiff Summers and Respondents went on a hunting expedition together on the open range and plaintiff alleged that at a time when plaintiff was at a point approximately 200 feet from the defendants, each of them negligently discharged his gun, with the result that shot was lodged in the respondent's right eye and in his upper lip. The court then found each defendant guilty of negligence and that the negligence of each defendant was a proximate cause of the injury to plaintiff. Defendants appealed.

Issue:

Are the defendants jointly liable for the injuries sustained by plaintiff?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The court reversed and held that under the reasoning of these rules from "Restatement of the Law of Torts", defendants could not be held liable. To uphold plaintiff's contention the court would be forced to hold that if A, B and C go hunting together in a place where they have a right to go and at all times on the expedition the conduct of A is careful, skillful and prudent, but that by the unforeseen negligent conduct of B, C is injured, nevertheless, in spite of his own exemplary conduct, A is liable  for the injury to C. There is no reason in logic or law for such a holding and no decision to any such effect has been called to the court’s attention.

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