Cordas v. Peerless Transp. Co.

27 N.Y.S.2d 198 (City Ct. 1941)



The law presumes that an act or omission done or neglected under the influence of pressing danger was done or neglected involuntarily. 


A chauffeur driving a cab owned by defendant cab company abandoned his vehicle while it was in motion after he was threatened by his passenger, a thief with a pistol who was fleeing from the scene of a crime. The passenger also abandoned the vehicle and then, the unattended cab injured plaintiffs, a mother and her two children. The mother filed a negligence action against the cab company.


Was the cab company negligent?




The court found in favor of cab company. It said that the cab driver was suddenly faced with patent danger, not of its own making, and the court presumed he abandoned the vehicle involuntarily. It said that the law does not hold one in an emergency to the exercise of that mature judgment required of him under circumstances where he has an opportunity for deliberate action. The court found such actions reasonable under the circumstances.

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