Brandt v. Dodd

CourtFlorida Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtAuthor: Chapman
Citation150 Fla. 635,8 So.2d 471
Decision Date26 May 1942
PartiesBRANDT v. DODD.

8 So.2d 471

150 Fla. 635

BRANDT
v.
DODD.

Florida Supreme Court

May 26, 1942


Rehearing Denied June 20, 1942.

[150 Fla. 637] Appeal from Circuit Court, Leon County; W. May Walker, Judge.

Oven & Oven and B. C. Stanley, all of Tallahassee, for plaintiff in error.

Charles S. Ausley, John C. Ausley, B. K. Roberts, and Rodney Durrance, all of Tallahassee, for defendant in error.

CHAPMAN, Justice.

This appeal is to review a final judgment in the sum of $12,000 for the plaintiff below entered by the Circuit Court of Leon County, Florida. The plaintiff below sustained described personal injuries alleged to have been caused by the negligent operation of an automobile on North Monroe Street in the City of Tallahassee on December 14, 1940, near or at the intersection of said street with Georgia Street. The automobile [8 So.2d 472] which injured the plaintiff was operated by Ward Fields, with the knowledge and consent of C. W. Brandt, the defendant below.

The first count of the declaration alleged that the plaintiff was injured by the negligent operation of defendant's car while plaintiff was crossing North Monroe Street between Georgia and Brevard Streets, in the City of Tallahassee. The second count alleged the negligent operation of the defendant's car and plaintiff was injured at the crossing situated on the north side of the intersection of Georgia Street with Monroe Street, which was at the time and place of injury a congested shopping area of said city. The third count is similar in allegations to the first count but alleged that plaintiff was injured at a regular street crossing on North Monroe Street. The issues were submitted to the jury on pleas of the general [150 Fla. 638] issue and contributory negligence, directed to each count of plaintiff's declaration.

The first question posed by counsel for appellant for adjudication is, viz.: When the operator of a motor vehicle at night and in heavy traffic suddenly and unexpectedly becomes blinded by the lights of an approaching vehicle and fails to stop his car instantly, is he necessarily liable for damages because while so blinded he struck a pedestrian within a space of less than thirty feet when the pedestrian was crossing the street at a place other than an intersection?

It is conceded that the driver of the defendant's car struck Dr. Dodd on December 14, 1940, about 6:00 or 6:30 P. M., near the intersection of Georgia and Monroe Streets. Likewise, that at the time of the collision the car was being driven north on Monroe Street at the rate of 20 to 30 miles per hour; that cars with bright lights displayed moving from an opposite direction were approaching the driver of the defendant's car. These cars with lights displayed, with a gradual increase in the elevation of North Monroe Street, the vision of the lights fell in the face of the driver, thereby affecting his vision, and this situation occurred shortly prior to the collision. There is but little, if any, contest by counsel as to the extent or seriousness of the injuries sustained by Dr. Dodd. The time plaintiff was injured was when the people of the community were engaged in buying the weekly supply of groceries and occurred near one of the places where sold. The area was congested with people and motor vehicles.

The testimony is conflicting on the point of where Dr. Dodd was standing--whether in the street or street intersection--when struck by the car. One [150 Fla. 639] witness placed the point as being on a line with the south wall of the building where groceries were sold. Another witness who followed for some distance the driver of the defendant's car was of the view that the car was being driven at from 25 to 30 miles per hour, while the driver was of the opinion that he was traveling at about 20 to 25 miles per hour. The traffic was heavy and the area where the impact occurred was at the time congested with shoppers and motor vehicles and the driver had a knowledge of these conditions. Counsel for appellee contend that it was negligence per se for the car in question to proceed into this congested area at a speed of 20 to 25 miles per hour when lights of cars traveling in the opposite direction affected the vision of the driver of the car. Counsel for appellant contend that the plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence and is precluded from a recovery because he was attempting to cross North Monroe Street at a place where there was no street intersection when struck by defendant's car.

The defendant below, appellant here, filed pleas of contributory negligence and the burden of establishing these pleas was on the defendant, unless direct testimony established the plea of contributory negligence or by fair inference from plaintiff's testimony the pleas were established. It is our view that the disputes and conflicts in the evidence as to whether or not Dr. Dodd was guilty of contributory negligence by crossing or attempting to cross North Monroe Street at a place other than an intersection and that his failure to observe the possible dangers or risks in attempting to cross the street were the proximate cause of the injury were questions of fact to be settled by the jury under appropriate instructions. See Hart v. Held, Fla., 5 So.2d 878; Ferlita & Sons., [150 Fla. 640] Inc., v. Beck, 143 Fla. 509, 197 So. 340; Christopher Co. v. Russell, 63 Fla. 191, 58 So. 45, Ann.Cas.1913C, 564; Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. McCormick, 59 Fla. 121, 52 So. 712.

In the case of Mathers v. Botsford, 86 Fla. 40, 97 So. 282, 32 A.L.R. 881, the facts show that the plaintiff was walking [8 So.2d 473] along a public road at night when the defendant's car was being driven in the same direction behind the plaintiff; a car was approaching from the opposite direction and the bright lights blinded the driver of defendant's car and prevented him from seeing the plaintiff in time to avoid striking him. This Court sustained a judgment for the plaintiff and enunciated a rule to be observed by drivers of automobiles and pedestrians when using the roads. It was said:

'Under these circumstances, when the vision of the driver of the defendant's car was so obstructed or obscured by the bright lights on the car coming from the opposite direction that he could not see any one on the road ahead of him, it was the duty of the driver of the defendant's car to exercise all ordinary and reasonable care and diligence to avoid injury to any one who might rightfully be on the road in front of...

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17 practice notes
  • Connolly v. Steakley, No. 33710
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • January 25, 1967
    ...Miami Beach Ry. Co. v. Dohme, 1938, 131 Fla. 171, 179 So. 166; Davis v. Cuesta, 1941, 146 Fla. 471, 1 So.2d 475; Brandt v. Dodd, 1942, 150 Fla. 635, 8 So.2d 471; Williams v. Sauls, 1942, 151 Fla. 270, 9 So.2d 369; Petroleum Carrier Corp. v. Hall, 1947, 158 Fla. 549, 29 So.2d 624; Panama Cit......
  • Baston v. Shelton
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 7, 1943
    ...our judicial system, do not justify such a conclusion. We are sustained in this holding by our previous decisions. See Brandt v. Dodd, 150 Fla. 635, 8 So.2d 471; Hart v. Held, 149 Fla. 33, 5 So.2d 878; Greiper v. Coburn, 139 Fla. 293, 190 So. 902; Dunn Bus Service, Inc., v. McKinley, 130 Fl......
  • Laney v. Holbrook
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 26, 1942
    ...instructions to make findings of fact with sufficient definiteness to advise the accused as to what facts the Board found sufficiently [150 Fla. 635] proven to substantiate charges which would warrant the forfeiture of his position as Principal of the Public Schools of the City of Apopka in......
  • Mullis v. City of Miami
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • August 1, 1952
    ...crossing the street at a point outside of the crosswalk does not constitute contributory negligence as a matter of law, Brandt v. Dodd, 150 Fla. 635, 8 So.2d 471; nor do we consider her testimony that she did not see the hole until after she fell to be conclusive on the question of her cont......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Connolly v. Steakley, No. 33710
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • January 25, 1967
    ...Miami Beach Ry. Co. v. Dohme, 1938, 131 Fla. 171, 179 So. 166; Davis v. Cuesta, 1941, 146 Fla. 471, 1 So.2d 475; Brandt v. Dodd, 1942, 150 Fla. 635, 8 So.2d 471; Williams v. Sauls, 1942, 151 Fla. 270, 9 So.2d 369; Petroleum Carrier Corp. v. Hall, 1947, 158 Fla. 549, 29 So.2d 624; Panama Cit......
  • Baston v. Shelton
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 7, 1943
    ...our judicial system, do not justify such a conclusion. We are sustained in this holding by our previous decisions. See Brandt v. Dodd, 150 Fla. 635, 8 So.2d 471; Hart v. Held, 149 Fla. 33, 5 So.2d 878; Greiper v. Coburn, 139 Fla. 293, 190 So. 902; Dunn Bus Service, Inc., v. McKinley, 130 Fl......
  • Laney v. Holbrook
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 26, 1942
    ...instructions to make findings of fact with sufficient definiteness to advise the accused as to what facts the Board found sufficiently [150 Fla. 635] proven to substantiate charges which would warrant the forfeiture of his position as Principal of the Public Schools of the City of Apopka in......
  • Mullis v. City of Miami
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • August 1, 1952
    ...crossing the street at a point outside of the crosswalk does not constitute contributory negligence as a matter of law, Brandt v. Dodd, 150 Fla. 635, 8 So.2d 471; nor do we consider her testimony that she did not see the hole until after she fell to be conclusive on the question of her cont......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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