Hellriegel v. Tholl

69 Wash. 2d 97, 417 P.2d 362 (1966)



A challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, a motion for nonsuit, a motion for a directed verdict, or a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, admits the truth of the opposing party's evidence and all inferences that reasonably can be drawn therefrom and requires that the evidence be interpreted most strongly against the moving party and in the light most favorable to the party against whom the motion is made. 


The father's teenage son was seriously injured when three of his teenage friends tried to throw him into a lake and his neck was broken. The father filed a complaint to recover the cost of the medical care for his son and on his son's behalf for loss of income, temporary total disability, alleged permanent partial disability, and general damages for alleged negligence and recklessness of the three teenagers that resulted in the breaking of the son's neck. At trial, the court granted the teenagers' motion to dismiss. The father appealed to the Supreme Court of Washington.


Were the teenagers liable to the father and their friend for the neck injury he sustained?




On review, the Court held that there was not sufficient evidence of a battery to establish a prima facie case of liability against the teenagers. It agreed with the trial court that the son's words were an invitation to the teenagers to try to throw him into the water. His statement constituted consent, and he assumed the risk that he might be accidentally injured. Thus, there was no jury question on the issue of consent. The contact that actually broke the son's neck was accidental. Therefore, the court agreed with the trial court that the father's evidence was not sufficient to require submission to the jury.

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