Hughes v. Hudelson, 7290

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Citation67 Idaho 10,169 P.2d 712
Docket Number7290
PartiesHUGHES et al. v. HUDELSON
Decision Date31 May 1946

Rehearing Denied June 26, 1946.

Rehearing Denied June 26, 1946.

Appeal from District Court, Fourth District, Gooding County; D. H Sutphen, Judge.

Reversed and remanded with direction to grant a new trial.

James R. Bothwell, of Twin Falls, and W. B. Bowler, of Boise, for appellants.

In an action for death of guest who was killed while riding in back of truck owned and driven by defendant, who ran off the road in the night time and continued for a distance of 120 yards without attempting to reduce his speed, and with a clear, open and level course ahead for a distance of 1400 feet, chose to abruptly and sharply turn the car on to and across the oiled portion of the highway at an excessive rate of speed, causing the car to thus travel a distance of 119 feet and there upset and roll for a distance of 105 feet to the edge of the pavement and come to rest at an additional 8 feet off the pavement completely turned around and upside down, the question of whether defendant acted with "reckless disregard" of the rights of the guest was for the jury. Manion v. Waybright, 59 Idaho 643, 86 P.2d 181; Curtis v. Curtis, 58 Idaho 76, 70 P.2d 369; Owen v. Taylor, 62 Idaho 408, 114 P.2d 258; Dawson v. Salt Lake Hardware Co., 64 Idaho 666, 136 P.2d 733; Carson v. Talbot, 64 Idaho 198, 129 P.2d 901; R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Newby et al., 9 Cir., 145 F.2d 768; Willi v. Schaefer Hitchcock Co., 53 Idaho 367, 25 P.2d 167.

"Reckless disregard" of the rights of others as used in section 48-901 I.C.A., Amended Laws 1939, Chapter 160, means "without thought or care for consequences." Dawson v. Salt Lake Hardware Co., 64 Idaho 666, 136 P.2d 733; R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Newby et al., 9 Cir., 145 F.2d 768; George v. Stanfield et al., D.C., 33 F.Supp. 486; Siesseger v. Puth, 213 Iowa 164, 239 N.W. 46; White v. McVicker, 216 Iowa 90, 246 N.W. 385.

Only in clear cases, that is to say, where the facts are not in dispute and reasonable men can reasonably draw but one inference from the facts, will the trial court pass on the question of negligence; all others should be submitted to the jury. Carson v. Talbot, 64 Idaho 198, 129 P.2d 901; Owen v. Taylor, 62 Idaho 408, 114 P.2d 258; Goodwin v. Goodwin, 5 Cal.App.2d 644, 43 P.2d 332.

If, after considering all the evidence and the inferences that may be deduced therefrom, the court is in doubt whether reasonable men, in viewing or considering all the evidence, might arrive at different conclusions, then this very doubt determines the question to be one of fact for the jury, and not one of law for the court. Owen v. Taylor, 62 Idaho 408, 114 P.2d 258; Carson v. Talbot, 64 Idaho 198, 129 P.2d 901.

R. P. Parry, of Twin Falls, and James, Shaw & James, of Gooding, for respondent.

Driver of automobile owes no duty to guest passenger except to refrain from injuring guest by reason of intentional accidents, intoxication or reckless disregard of guest's safety. Idaho Code Annotated Sec. 48-901 as amended by Chapter 160, 1939 Session Laws.

The term "reckless disregard" as used in the Idaho guest statute means "an act destitute of heed or concern for consequences; especially foolishly heedless of danger, headlong, rash." Dawson v. Salt Lake Hardware Co., 64 Idaho 666, 136 P.2d 733.

In order to establish "reckless disregard" it must appear that the driver of the vehicle knew at the time that he was disregarding the rights of others but nevertheless proceeded recklessly. Peter v. Thomas, 231 Iowa 985, 2 N.W.2d 643; Paulson v. Hanson, 226 Iowa 858, 285 N.W. 189; Anderson v. Anderson, 142 Kan. 463, 50 P.2d 995; Russell v. Turner, D.C., 56 F.Supp. 455, affirmed 8 Cir., 148 F.2d 562; Armstrong v. Binzer, 102 Ind.App. 497, 199 N.E. 863.

Reckless disregard means more than negligence and negligence alone is not sufficient to authorize recovery under Idaho guest statute. Dawson v. Salt Lake Hdw. Co., 64 Idaho 666, 136 P.2d 733; Russell v. Turner, D.C., 56 F.Supp. 455; 5 Am.Jur., page 636, Sec. 242.

Where the facts are not in dispute and there is no conflict in the evidence, it is for the court to determine whether the defendant has been proven to have acted in "reckless disregard of the rights of others." Siesseger v. Puth, 213 Iowa 164, 239 N.W. 46, at page 54.

In a wrongful death action the case of the heir must be based upon a violation of a duty which defendant owed to the deceased and facts must be established which would give a right of action, aside from capacity to sue, to the decedent. Northern Pac. R. Co. v. Adams, 192 U.S. 440, 24 S.Ct. 408, 48 L.Ed. 513; Alder Co. v. Fleming, 9 Cir., 159 F. 593; Sprouse v. Magee, 46 Idaho 622, 269 P. 993; Helgeson v. Powell, 54 Idaho 667, 34 P.2d 957; Russell v. Cox, 65 Idaho 534, 148 P.2d 221; 16 Am.Jur. 61.

Ailshie, Chief Justice. Givens and Miller, JJ., concur. Holden, Justice, concurring specially. Mr. Justice Miller concurs in this special concurrence. Budge, J., sat at the hearing but expressed no opinion on the case.


Ailshie, Chief Justice.

This is an action for damages brought by Ilene Hughes, appellant, as surviving wife, and as guardian of two surviving children, of Marvin G. Hughes:

Late in the evening of February 22, 1945, respondent, R. W. Hudelson, with Roy Agle, left Gooding to go to Ketchum, in Hudelson's 1940 Chevrolet pickup truck. They were traveling on highway No. 24 from Gooding to Shoshone. About four or five miles east of Gooding, in response to a signal from a pedestrian (later identified as Marvin G. Hughes), respondent stopped his vehicle and consented to Hughes riding in the rear of the truck; he rode as respondent's guest without pay for transportation. A few miles west of Shoshone, at a point where the highway is curved, the pickup truck met two oncoming cars, the lights of the second car not being dimmed. Momentarily blinded by the lights of the cars, respondent drove the truck to his right to allow ample room for the cars to pass. In doing so, the right wheels of the truck went off the road and onto the shoulder of the highway. The shoulder was soft and lower than the pavement. On turning the truck to the left, to return the right wheels to the oiled portion of the highway, the truck went out of control, upset and rolled over several times. Mr. Hughes was thrown from the truck and lay right on the edge of the oiled road, "Right up on the shoulder of the road from where the car was." Mr. Miller and Mr. Neuman came by in the latter's car; they testified that they "got there about 12:30 or a quarter to one or somewhere along in there". Mr. Hughes was placed in Neuman's car and taken to the Gooding County Hospital "around one o'clock or a little after".

The next afternoon, in discussing the accident with respondent (Hudelson), I. G. Hughes, father of Marvin G. Hughes, testified to the following:

"A. Well, I asked him [respondent, Hudelson] how the wreck happened, and he said, 'We was on our way to Hailey, and we saw a hand sticking out like this.' He held out his hand like this. He said, 'We stopped, and he [Marvin Hughes] got in behind in the back end of the car. We just got started up to going good, and we met two cars.' He said, 'We got by the first one all right, but the second one didn't dim his lights.' And he said, 'I was working with this dimming button, and it got off of the road.' He said, 'Well, I kept battling this wheel to get back on, and when it finally come back on the road, why it went out of control, and I rolled over several times.'

"Q. It did what? A. Rolled over several times.

"Q. It did what? A. Rolled over several times.

"Q. Was anything further said there at that time? A. 'Well,' he says, 'I finally, I guess I was stunned or something. When I come to myself I could see a hole in the right hand of the window broken out. While at the same time I could roll down the glass on the left hand side and got out, but I couldn't see that side.' He said, 'I told this man that we would have to get out, because this man in the rear end might be hurt. This man, seemingly, was stunned or something, and I worked him out of the car with my hands.' He said 'After I got out, he couldn't get across.' He said, 'I pushed him across like this with my feet, and after I pushed him across, I come across myself.' He says, 'Your son was laying right on the edge of the pavement on his back.' He says, 'I just stooped down to pick him up, and I saw a car coming, and I hailed the car. I knew the man' he says, 'and we loaded him in and took him to the hospital in Gooding.' I asked him how long it was from the time that they were wrecked until he was in the hospital, and he said he thought it was about 15 minutes.

"Q. Was anything further said at that time, Mr. Hughes? A. I think that was all."

On the morning of February 23d (the day following the accident), F S. Craig, sheriff of Gooding county, and Sheriff Purdum of Lincoln county, met at the scene of the accident and took some measurements. Sheriff Craig testified

"We observed where the automobile driven by Mr. Hudelson had been -- the right wheels were off the pavement, the oiled pavement, followed down this concurve in an easterly direction and to where it went on the pavement, and the marks from there on down to where the car came to rest. * * * I went as far west as where the car went off the curve with the right wheels, and I paced the distance to where it showed a mark of turning onto the oil. I stepped that measurement * * *. As I remember 120 paces. * * * I held the tape, the end of the tape, and let Mr. Purdum go out to where the first mark was from where it went onto the oil, from the tire mark on the oil there. Mr. Purdum took the measurement and...

To continue reading

Request your trial
19 cases
  • State v. Salhus, 7377
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • January 9, 1948
    ...the norm in the instructions complained of, as thus tersely stated by Holden, J., in his concurrence [189 P.2d 386] in Hughes v. Hudelson, 67 Idaho 10, at page 21, 169 P.2d 712, at page 718: "* * * the conduct of the driver, * * *, together with the surrounding facts and circumstances, disc......
  • Nebeker v. Piper Aircraft Corp., 16078
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • June 25, 1987
    ...death statute was intended to avoid the harshness of the common law rule that no cause of action survived the death. Hughes v. Hudelson, 67 Idaho 10, 169 P.2d 712 (1946); Russell v. Cox, 65 Idaho 534, 148 P.2d 221 (1944). The wrongful death statute created a new cause of action in favor of ......
  • Emery v. Emery
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 27, 1955
    ...misconduct' as commonly used. See Dawson v. Salt Lake Hardware Co., 1943, 64 Idaho 666, 136 P.2d 733, 738; Hughes v. Hudelson, 1946, 67 Idaho 10, 169 P.2d 712, 716; Shoemaker v. Floor, 1950, 117 Utah 516, 217 P.2d 382, 384-385, supra. Although not coextensive with either of these other two ......
  • Emery v. Emery
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • October 28, 1955
    ...misconduct' as used in section 403 of the California Vehicle Code. 2 Mason v. Mootz, 73 Idaho 461, 253 P.2d 240, 243; Hughes v. Hudelson, 67 Idaho 10, 169 P.2d 712, 716. A fortiori, if the complaint states causes of action for 'wilful misconduct' within the meaning of the California statute......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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