Harlow v. Van Dusen

Citation137 Cal.App.2d 547,290 P.2d 911
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Decision Date06 December 1955
PartiesKaylin Teresa HARLOW et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents, v. Max VAN DUSEN et al., Defendants. Gladys Oxford, Administratrix, etc., Appellant. Civ. 20976.

Page 911

290 P.2d 911
137 Cal.App.2d 547
Kaylin Teresa HARLOW et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents,
Max VAN DUSEN et al., Defendants.
Gladys Oxford, Administratrix, etc., Appellant.
Civ. 20976.
District Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 1, California.
Dec. 6, 1955.
Rehearing Denied Dec. 30, 1955.

Page 912

Early, Maslach, Foran & Williams, Los Angeles, and Victor E. Williams and Donald J. Pierr, Los Angeles, for appellant.

Toxey H. Smith, Los Angeles, for respondents.

DORAN, Justice.

The administratrix of the Estate of Neal Calvin Oxford, Deceased, is here appealing from a judgment, after trial by jury, in favor of the respondents, awarding damages for the deaths of respondents' husbands and fathers, respectively, which occurred while the latter were riding as [137 Cal.App.2d 548] guests in a Studebaker automobile driven by Neal Oxford, deceased. The action herein is based upon the theory of wilful misconduct on the part of Neal Oxford who, along with the two guests Francis Harlow and Marco Piscitelli, died as a result of the accident.

The accident happened when the car, of which the three decedents were the sole occupants, traveling west along Highway 99 near Pomona, went into a spinning skid onto the wrong side of the highway, colliding with another car traveling in the opposite direction. Max Van Dusen, driver of the other car, named as a defendant, is not a party to this appeal, a nonsuit having been granted at the conclusion of the plaintiffs' case.

Francis Harlow, Marco Piscitelli and Neal Calvin Oxford were friends working together at the Pomona Convair plant, and on the afternoon of March 19, 1953, Harlow and Piscitelli, accompanied by several other men, 'played a few games of ping pong at the plant, and then, as they had done on previous occasions, set out on an evening of social relaxtion', to quote from appellant's brief. 'They first went to a place called the French Village, where they were joined by Neal Oxford * * *. At the French Village they had a few beers and played shuffle board. Later on, five of them went to another resort called the Alibi Supper Club * * * (where) the men conversed and listened to the orchestra and apparently had one or more drinks. According to Wesley West, one of those on the party, no one was intoxicated when he left the Alibi at about midnight. * * * West, * * * was the last of the party to see his three friends alive.

As disclosed by the record, the three decedents, Oxford, Harlow and Piscitelli, were next observed after midnight riding in Oxford's car, with Oxford driving, a few seconds before the crash. The three men were sitting in the front seat. The Oxford car was proceeding west on United States Highway 99, in an area known as Kellogg Hill. Witness Gerald Murphy, who was also proceeding west, by means of the rear view mirror, observed the Oxford car directly behind and in the righthand lane, just before Oxford passed Murphy's car.

According to Murphy's testimony, summarized in respondents' brief, 'The night was dark, a light rain or mist was falling and the highway was slick all over. Murphy's car was traveling about 50 miles an hour when Oxford's car swung into the left lane to pass him. * * * a conservative estimate[137 Cal.App.2d 549] of its speed would be 65 to 70 miles an hour. About...

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11 cases
  • Newing v. Cheatham
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • October 3, 1975
    ...225 Cal.App.2d 36, 47--50, 37 Cal.Rptr. 27; Enos v. Montoya (1958) 158 Cal.App.2d 394, 401, 322 P.2d 472; Harlow v. Van Dusen (1955) 137 Cal.App.2d 547, 551, 290 P.2d 911.) In Mittelman v. Seifert, supra, 17 Cal.App.3d 51, 69, 79, 94 Cal.Rptr. 654, on the other hand, where there was signifi......
  • Gillespie v. Rawlings
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • November 12, 1957
    ...104 Cal.App.2d 347, 352, 231 P.2d 561; Davis v. Oldendorph (1955), 130 Cal.App.2d 314, 318, 278 P.2d 956; Harlow v. Van Dusen (1955), 137 Cal.App.2d 547, 550, 290 P.2d 911; Fuller v. Chambers (1956), 142 Cal.App.2d 377, 380(4), 298 P.2d 125; see also Van Fleet v. Heyler (1942), 51 Cal.App.2......
  • Hill v. Perry
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 23, 1964
    ...that excessive speed, although not in itself conclusive, is a factor to be considered by the finder of fact. In Harlow v. VanDusen, 137 Cal.App.2d 547, 550, 290 P.2d 911, 913, it is 'Although, as stated by appellant, excessive speed alone is not necessarily wilful misconduct, nevertheless, ......
  • Stevens v. Stevens, 30
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • October 1, 1958
    ...harm, may be enough, as the trial court cogently observed in the case before us. 'In several reported cases,' held Harlow v. Van Dusen, 137 Cal.App.2d 547, 290 P.2d 911, 913, 'a speed of 60 miles per hour has been held to constitute wilful misconduct when co-joined with such facts as a damp......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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