Dexter v. McCready

Decision Date20 July 1886
Citation54 Conn. 171,5 A. 855
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court

Appeal from court of common pleas, Fairfield county.

Action to recover damages for injury done by a collision of defendant's horse and carriage with plaintiff's horse and carriage. Defendant had judgment below and plaintiff appealed.

J. S. Seymour, for appellant.

J. B. Hurlbutt and G. Stoddard, for appellee.

PARK, C. J. The defendant's horse took fright and ran away, and his carriage collided with the plaintiff's horse and carriage in the public street of Norwalk, and the plaintiff's property was injured. It appears in the case that on the trial of the cause each party claimed that the other was negligent, and that the collision was the result of such negligence. It further appears that all the questions involved in the case were submitted by counsel to the jury as questions of fact, and that no questions of law were in controversy between the parties.

The counsel for the plaintiff made but one request of the court to charge the jury, which was as follows:

"It was not enough for the defendant to take such care of his horse on a crowded thoroughfare as would have been sufficient on a lonely country road, or on his own land; that in proportion as the probability increased that his horse might be frightened, or might start or be interfered with, and others injured, in that proportion must his care increase."

The substance of this request is that the defendant was bound to exercise care in proportion to the danger that existed of his horse doing harm to others. All this is comprehended by the phrase, "the defendant was bound to exercise reasonable care in all the circumstances then existing." Reasonable care requires care to be exercised in proportion to the danger of doing harm to others. Whatever may be the dangerous circumstances, reasonable care must be exercised to prevent harm. The court charged the jury as follows:

"In deciding whether one exercises ordinary care, the jury will consider all the facts proved, all the surrounding circumstances, and say whether the conduct of such person was that of a person of ordinary prudence and discretion under such circumstances. In judging whether the defendant was guilty of negligence, his conduct should be considered, not only with reference to the facts of which he had actual knowledge, and to his actual surroundings at that moment, but in view of what was reasonably likely to happen. In the means adopted to prevent the escape of his horse, the defendant was not only bound to consider the character and disposition of his horse, and the fact that he was in the public street, but to anticipate what might naturally happen in such a place,—the chance of noises and other occurrences at which his horse might be startled, and the danger to the persons and property of those passing, or who would be likely to be passing or driving in the...

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12 cases
  • Hoelter v. Mohawk Service, Inc.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • April 6, 1976
    ...Co., 120 Conn. 46, 48, 179 A. 9; Farrell v. Waterbury Horse R. Co., 60 Conn. 239, 248, 21 A. 675, 22 A. 544; Dexter v. McCready, 54 Conn. 171, 172, 5 A. 855. Negligence is the failure to use such care and the engaging in conduct which creates an undue risk of harm. 'Negligence is conduct wh......
  • Fort Worth & D. Ry. Co. v. Barlow
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • November 20, 1953
    ...also Moore v. Chicago Bridge & Iron Works, 183 N.C. 438, 111 S.E. 776; Government Street R. R. Co. v. Hanlon, 53 Ala. 70; Dexter v. McCready, 54 Conn. 171, 5 A. 855; Ladow v. Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co., 28 Okl. 15, 119 P. 250; Pitman v. City of El Reno, 2 Okl. 414, 37 P. 851; Stokes v. Ral......
  • Cochran v. Philadelphia & R. T. R. Co.
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Supreme Court
    • February 7, 1898
    ... ... 454 ... Mere ... lapse of time is not sufficient to charge the plaintiffs with ... knowledge of the condition of the stopcock: Dexter v ... McCready, 54 Conn. 171; Boehm v. Boro. of Bethlehem, 4 ... Pa.Super. 385 ... Thomas ... Hart, Jr., for appellee, was not heard, ... ...
  • White v. John W. Cowper Co., Inc., 140.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • February 9, 1921
    ... ... avoided and the consequences that might reasonably be ... anticipated from the neglect. Dexter v. McCready, 54 ... Conn. 171, 5 A. 855 ... In view ... of the above principles we think the respondent failed to ... exercise the ... ...
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