Anderson v. Minneapolis Street Railway Co.

Decision Date16 December 1921
Docket Number22,610
Citation185 N.W. 661,150 Minn. 509
CourtMinnesota Supreme Court

Action in the municipal court of Minneapolis to recover $140 for injuries to an automobile. The case was tried before Charles L. Smith, J., who when plaintiff rested granted defendants' motion for a directed verdict on the ground that plaintiff had proved himself guilty of contributory negligence; that he had failed to prove his cause of action against defendant and that the evidence was not sufficient to warrant a verdict for plaintiff. From an order granting plaintiff's motion for a new trial, defendants appealed. Reversed.


New trial -- contributory negligence of automobile driver -- wilful negligence of defendant.

Action to recover for damages to plaintiff's automobile caused by collision with the defendant company's street car. The trial court directed a verdict for defendants and thereafter granted a new trial. Held:

(1) That the evidence shows conclusively that plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence.

(2) That there was not evidence sufficient to warrant the submission of the question of wilful negligence to the jury that the order directing a verdict for the defendants was right and that plaintiff was not entitled to a new trial.

John F Dulebohn, W. D. Dwyer and Ralph T. Boardman, for appellants.

Marshall S. Snyder, for respondent.



Plaintiff brings this action to recover for damage to his automobile caused by a collision with the defendant company's street car, through the alleged negligence of defendants. At the close of plaintiff's testimony the court directed a verdict in favor of the defendants and from an order granting a new trial upon the ground that the evidence made a case of wilful negligence for the jury, defendants appeal.

The Minneapolis Street Railway Company is a corporation operating a street railway system in the city of Minneapolis. J. D. Lane was the motorman on the car in question. The damage occurred at the intersection of First Avenue North and Seventh street. Upon each of these thoroughfares are double street railway tracks which are connected at this intersection by a wye. On May 13, 1920, a street car in charge of Lane was standing on the track near the intersection. It proceeded over the curve leading from Seventh street to First Avenue North. Plaintiff's automobile came up behind the car which had stopped. When the car started again the automobile was passing at its side. The left side of the automobile came into contact with the right side of the street car back of the motorman's cab door. The right front wheel of the automobile was against the curb to the right of the track upon which the street car was moving. At this point it is 8 feet from the curb to the rail of the track. The street car was moving on a curve to the right, so that the body of the car was necessarily considerably closer to the curb than the rail. It is the contention on behalf of the plaintiff that the damage to his automobile was caused by the wilful and wanton negligence of the defendants. The cause was tried on behalf of the plaintiff on that theory. It is so alleged in the complaint. The answer denies negligence and affirmatively alleges plaintiff's contributory negligence. The reply denies contributory negligence. The issues of fact are failure of defendants to signal that the car was moving and the alleged wilful neglect to avoid the accident when they discovered plaintiff in a position of peril.

Plaintiff testified that he was familiar with the street crossing, had driven over it before; that he knew there were several tracks at that point and that the street cars went over the curve in question at times; that his automobile was 5 1/2 feet wide; that he was some 15 feet from the point of contact when he observed the street car moving; that he was going at the rate of about 2 or 3 miles per hour, had full control of his car, and could have stopped it within 2 or 3 feet. Had he done so the collision would have been avoided. His failure to do so was negligence on his part which contributed to the accident. Under these circumstances it was immaterial whether the defendant failed to give a signal of the movement of the car. Medcalf v. St. Paul City Ry. Co. 82 Minn....

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT