372 P.2d 333 (Ariz. 1962), 6833, Shafer v. Monte Mansfield Motors

Docket Nº:6833.
Citation:372 P.2d 333, 91 Ariz. 331
Opinion Judge:[9] Murry
Party Name:George SHAFER and Mabel H. Knox Shafer, husband and wife, Appellants, v. MONTE MANSFIELD MOTORS, Appellee.
Attorney:[6] Leonard Everett, Tucson, Lawrence Ollason, Tucson, of counsel, for appellants. [7] Conner & Jones, Tucson, for appellee.
Case Date:June 20, 1962
Court:Supreme Court of Arizona
 
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Page 333

372 P.2d 333 (Ariz. 1962)

91 Ariz. 331

George SHAFER and Mabel H. Knox Shafer, husband and wife, Appellants,

v.

MONTE MANSFIELD MOTORS, Appellee.

No. 6833.

Supreme Court of Arizona.

June 20, 1962

Leonard Everett, Tucson, Lawrence Ollason, Tucson, of counsel, for appellants.

Conner & Jones, Tuscon, for appellee.

PORTER MURRY, Superior Court Judge.

This is an appeal by the plaintiffs, George and Mabel Shafer, from a judgment notwithstanding the verdict entered in a negligence action in favor of defendant, Monte Mansfield Motors. The parties will be referred to as they appeared in the trial court.

On August 2, 1957, Jesse McDaniel (a minor and a defendant in the trial court who is not concerned in this appeal) arrived at the front of defendant's automobile agency [91 Ariz. 332] in Tucson, Arizona, Accompanied by two friends. He left his friends and walked to the back of the lot where he saw an unfenced lot along an alleyway containing several automobiles. McDaniel noticed two men, one dressed in a white smock, who had apparently just left a 1955 green Mercury automobile and were walking into defendant's building. He saw the ignition keys which had been left in the car. He entered the car, drove it through the alley to the

Page 334

front of defendant's building, picked up his friends and drove away. No one from defendant's agency gave McDaniel permission to drive the car and no one called to him when he drove away. Shortly thereafter there was a collision at the intersection of Park Ave. and Grant Rd. between McDaniel and plaintiffs. Both automobiles were substantially damaged and the plaintiffs received severe injuries.

The trial court submitted the case to the jury which returned a verdict of $25,000 in favor of the plaintiffs against defendant, Monte Mansfield Motors. A default having previously been entered against McDaniel, the trial court entered a judgment against him in the amount of $25,000, but proceeded to enter a judgment for defendant, Monte Mansfield Motors notwithstanding the jury verdict.

Plaintiffs assign as error the trial court's refusal to enter judgment in accordance with the jury verdict, contending that it is for the jury to decide: (a) whether it is negligence for the owner of a vehicle to, under these circumstances, leave the keys in the ignition, and if so determined, (b) whether such negligence was the proximate cause of...

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