Gregory v. Schnurstein

Decision Date10 July 1956
Docket NumberNo. 19396,19396
Citation212 Ga. 497,93 S.E.2d 680
CourtGeorgia Supreme Court
PartiesMarjorie GREGORY v. Robert SCHNURSTEIN.

Syllabus by the Court.

A single wrongful or negligent act, which injures both one's person and his property, gives but a single cause of action, and a settlement of the property damages will, where pleaded, bar an action on account of injuries to the person, where both items of damages are the result of a single wrongful or negligent act.

Noah J. Stone, A. Mims Wilkinson, Jr., Atlanta, for plaintiff in error.

Dunaway & Embry, Atlanta, for defendant in error.

ALMAND, Justice.

The Court of Appeals has certified to the court for answer the following question:

'1. Where, as the result of a single tortious act committed by the defendant, the plaintiff suffers personal injury and also property damage to her automobile, and where thereafter the parties enter into a settlement agreement as to the amount of property damage only, will such a settlement thereafter bar the right of the plaintiff to maintain and prosecute an action at law for the recovery of damages for injury to her person, where the foregoing property settlement appears pleaded according to the record? James v. Emmco Insurance Co., 71 Ga.App. 196, at page 201, 30 S.E.2d 361; Southeastern Greyhound Lines v. Wells, 204 Ga. 814, 51 S.E.2d 569; Western & Atlantic Ry. Co. v. Atkins, 141 Ga. 743, 747, 82 S.E. 139; Bennett v. Dove, 93 Ga.App. 57(2), 90 S.E.2d 601; Giles v. Smith, 80 Ga.App. 540, 56 S.E.2d 860.'

In Western & Atlantic Ry. Co. v. Atkins, 141 Ga. 743, 82 S.E. 139, the plaintiff sought to recover damages of the defendant for a personal injury. The defendant pleaded a written release based on a valuable consideration as an accord and satisfaction. The plaintiff contended that the release was executed solely to cover the amount of property damages he had suffered at the time he also suffered personal injuries. This court held that the tort was a single one, and though several items of damages resulted from this tort, the plaintiff, having received compensation for some of the damages arising from the occurrence, the release, so long as it stood, operated as an accord and satisfaction and furnished a complete answer to the plaintiff's action for damages to his person. In Endsley v. Georgia Ry. & Power Co., 37 Ga.App. 439, 140 S.E. 386, it was held that, where one sustained injury to his person and also damages to his property from the same negligent act of another, two distinct causes of action arose in favor of the injured person, and a pecovery for damages to his property would not bar a subsequent action for the injury to his person. On certiorari to this court, 167 Ga. 439, 145 S.E. 851, 62 A.L.R. 256, this ruling was reversed, and the rule was laid down that, where injury to the person and to the physical property of the injured party grew out of a single wrongful or negligent act, the tort to the person and the property constituted a single cause of action, and the Atkins case, supra, was cited in support of the ruling. In the opinion, this court cited a long list of authorities from other states in the Union as enunciating the commonlaw rule which these states had followed, and the court discussed the minority rule following the English rule, which holds that two causes of action arise where a single tortious act injures both person and property. This court disagreed with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that the plaintiff in that case had two causes of action, but did not reverse that court, for the reason that it was held that the rule was for the benefit of the defendant, and the...

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15 cases
  • Rush v. City of Maple Heights
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court
    • January 29, 1958
    ...v. Lintner, 1904, 141 Ala. 420, 38 So. 363, 109 Am.St. Rep. 40; Jenkins v. Skelton, 1920, 21 Ariz. 663, 192 P. 249; Gregory v. Schnurstein, 1956, 212 Ga. 497, 93 S.E.2d 680; Georgia Ry. & Power Co. v. Endsley, 1928, 167 Ga. 439, 145 S.E. 851, 62 A.L.R. 256; Fiscus v. Kansas City Public Serv......
  • Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical v. Ingersoll-Rand Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Georgia
    • March 26, 1981 occurrence, in the absence of fraud such release will bar any cause of action by the person executing such release. Gregory v. Schurstein, 212 Ga. 497 93 S.E.2d 680." Yet, Glover and the other cases cited include fact situations in which the original occurrence was a tort. In those situa......
  • Singletary v. Southeastern Freight Lines, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Georgia
    • September 13, 1993
    ...joint tortfeasors, but rather invokes the hoary rule concerning the "splitting" of causes of action exemplified by Gregory v. Schnurstein, 212 Ga. 497, 93 S.E.2d 680 (1956), overruled by Glover v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 229 Ga. 874, 195 S.E.2d 11 (1972). "A single wrongful or neglig......
  • Phillips v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • March 6, 1970
    ...damage he would have been deemed to have waived it. Georgia Railway & Power Co. v. Endsley, 167 Ga. 439, 145 S.E. 851; Gregory v. Schnurstein, 212 Ga. 497, 93 S.E.2d 680; House v. Benton, 42 Ga.App. 97, 155 S.E. 47; Universal Credit Co. v. Service Fire Ins. Co., 69 Ga.App. 357, 25 S.E.2d 52......
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