Anderson v. Detroit Motorbus Co.

Decision Date06 June 1927
Docket NumberNo. 60,April Term.,60
Citation239 Mich. 390,214 N.W. 172
CourtMichigan Supreme Court


Error to Circuit Court, Wayne County; Joseph A. Moynihan, Judge.

Action by Walter Anderson against the Detroit Motorbus Company and another. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendants bring error. Affirmed.

Argued before the Entire Bench.Kerr, Lacey & Scroggie, of Detroit, for appellants.

Bresnahan & Groefsema and Daniel H. Cronin, all of Detroit, for appellee.


A crew of repair men in a fivepassenger Buick, employed by the Detroit Gas Company, was moving from one job to another in the city of Detroit, on the forenoon of September 25, 1925. In doing so they had occasion to go down Buckingham street, which intersects with Jefferson avenue at right angles in Grosse Pointe. The Jefferson avenue pavement at that point is 50 feet wide; 40 feet from the intersection there is a large stop sign painted on the pavement on Buckingham street. On the occasion in question, the driver stopped at this sign. When he did so, he looked in an easterly direction, and, while there were some obstructions, he saw one of defendant's motorbusses half a block away, coming west on the north side of the street. Desiring to make a left-hand turn onto Jefferson avenue, he concluded he had time to clear the motorbus. He started up and got as far as the middle of Jefferson avenue, when the motorbus, within 20 feet of the Buick, suddenly swerved to the middle of the street and struck the automobile amidship. Plaintiff was standing on the left running board of the automobile. The second time the motorbus struck, she caught plaintiff's left leg and injured it so severely that it had to be amputated just below the knee.

The principal items of negligence alleged and relied on by plaintiff were a violation of the ordinance of the village of Grosse Pointe restricting the speed of motorbusses to 15 miles an hour; the failure of the motorbus driver to drive on the north side of the street instead of diverting the motorbus to the middle of the avenue, where it was in line with the Buick automobile. The trial resulted in a verdict for plaintiff of $10,000, and defendants assign error. Defendant's Negligence.

Defendant does not contest the question of its own negligence. Therefore no consideration need be given to that question. Negligence of the Buick Driver.

Defendants say that the driver of the Buick was guilty of contributory negligence because he stopped where the sign was located on Buckingham street instead of at the street line, and cite the following ordinance of Grosse Pointe in support of it:

Sec. 2. It shall be unlawful for any driver or operator of any vehicle to enter or cross any through traffic street without first having come to a complete stop before entering or crossing said street.'

This may be a debatable question of fact. By stopping 40 feet back from the street line, one would start his automobile on the intersecting street and in line with the traffic. If one ran up to the street line, he would be obliged to start his car on the through route at right angles with traffic, and therefore be more likely to interfere with passing vehicles. Furthermore we are inclined to the belief that, when one stops his car opposite the traffic sign, he has substantially complied with the ordinance.

It is further said the Buick driver saw the motorbus coming at a rate of 30 miles an hour, and that he ought not to have attempted to cross until the motorbus had passed. The intersection was first reached by the Buick, and had the right of way (Pline v. Parsons, 231 Mich. 466, 204 N. W. 131; Huddy on Automobiles [7th Ed.] 295, 296), and, as the motorbus was then more than half a block away, he felt he had a right to make his entry into Jefferson with safety (Pline v. Parsons, supra), and besides he had a right to assume, as he had entered the intersection first, that the motorbus would slow down if the connection proved to be a little close (Primock v. Goldenberg, 161 Minn. 160, 200 N. W. 920, 37 A. L. R. 484). The Buick driver also had a right to assume that the motorbus would observe the ordinance, which fixes the maximum speed of the motorbus at 15 miles an hour. The Buick...

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12 cases
  • Nielsen v. Richman
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eighth Circuit
    • November 18, 1940
    ...251 N.W. 525; Jacobsen v. Ahasay, 188 Minn. 179, 246 N.W. 670; Bell v. Pickett, 178 Minn. 540, 227 N.W. 854; Anderson v. Detroit Motorbus Company, 239 Mich. 390, 214 N.W. 172. The Supreme Court of Nebraska in the McCulley case, supra, said 119 Neb. 105, 227 N.W. "With the exception of a req......
  • Rice v. City of Portland
    • United States
    • Oregon Supreme Court
    • December 30, 1932
    ... ... 330, 5 N. J ... Misc. 296; Rose v. Cartier, 45 R.I. 150, 120 A. 581; ... Anderson v. Detroit Motorbus Co., 239 Mich. 390, 214 ... N.W. 172; Cincinnati, N. & C. Ry. Co. v ... ...
  • People v. McIntosh
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • April 28, 1970
    ...the operator has complied with the statute.' In support of his construction of the statute, defendant cites Anderson v. Detroit Motor Bus Co. (1927), 239 Mich. 390, 214 N.W. 172. In that case, a motorist stopped his car 40 feet from an intersection at a point adjacent to the stop sign. He t......
  • Roberson v. Carolina Taxi Service, Inc.
    • United States
    • North Carolina Supreme Court
    • January 4, 1939
    ... ... holding in Coyne v. Maniatty, 235 Mass. 181, 126 ... N.E. 377; Anderson v. Detroit Motorbus Co., 239 ... Mich. 390, 214 N.W. 172; Elliott v. Coreil, La.App., ... 158 So ... ...
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