Leo v. Adams, 11100--

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Citation87 S.D. 341,208 N.W.2d 706
Docket NumberNo. 11100--,11100--
PartiesShirley LEO, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Larry ADAMS, Defendant and Respondent. r--FRW.
Decision Date20 June 1973

Page 706

208 N.W.2d 706
87 S.D. 341
Shirley LEO, Plaintiff and Appellant,
Larry ADAMS, Defendant and Respondent.
No. 11100--r--FRW.
Supreme Court of South Dakota.
June 20, 1973.

[87 S.D. 342] Alan F. Glover, Brookings, for plaintiff and appellant.

Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith Lyle J. Wirt, Sioux Falls, for defendant and respondent.

WINANS, Justice.

This action arises out of a two car accident which occurred December 9, 1968 about 12:30 A.M. on Interstate Highway 29 to the north of the intersection of West 41st Street and Interstate 29 on the west side of Sioux Falls. Injured in the accident was the plaintiff, a passenger in the car being driven by her husband, Daniel A. Leo. They were proceeding north toward Brookings on Interstate 29 and plaintiff was seated in the front on the passenger side, sleeping at the time of the collision. The defendant, driving a 1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser was accompanied by his wife seated in the front on the passenger side. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff. Judgment on the verdict so returned was entered by the court. Thereafter defendant made a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, for a new trial. Defendant's motion is not made a part of the settled record but it is apparent from the record that his contention is that his negligence, if any (and he denies negligence), was not a proximate cause of the collision. The trial court agreed with the defendant and in effect held that defendant's actions were not a substantial factor in causing the collision and actually held they were 'not a cause but a condition', further holding. 'The collision was not reasonably foreseeable as a result of the conduct of the defendant. The collision was not the natural and probable consequence of the speed at which defendant

Page 707

was driving.' 'Judgment notwithstanding the verdict' was entered by the court, which set aside the verdict and judgment previously entered in favor of the plaintiff. The plaintiff appeals and assigns as error the court's granting of judgment n.o.v.

In this case as it reaches us, the plaintiff is entitled to have the evidence reviewed in the light most favorable to her and to have the benefit or every favorable inference that can fairly be drawn therefrom. Peterson v. Snell, 80 S.D. 496, 127 N.W.2d 142; Fossum v. Zurn, 78 S.D. 260, 100 N.W.2d 805.

[87 S.D. 343] At about 11:30 P.M. defendant picked up his wife at a nursing home in Sioux Falls where she was employed and drove to an establishment for hamburgers and coffee. When defendant was at the nursing home he noticed the reflection of the red taillights of his car on the building when his car was in reverse. Because defendant was unemployed, he and his wife were undecided whether to stay in Sioux Falls or return to Colorado, their former home. They decided to take a ride and discuss their problems. Defendant drove west on 41st Street. It was a cold night, the roads were dry, it was not snowing and there was no strong wind. As defendant drove down the ramp leading to Interstate 29 he slowed to about 10--15 miles per hour as he approached the yield sign located about 1/10 of a mile from Interstate 29 proper. Defendant saw no cars approaching. He drove north on the interstate which has two lanes for north traffic and two lanes for south traffic with a median between the north and southbound lanes. Defendant was driving his automobile in the east lane of the two-lane road for cars northbound. After he had driven north for approximately 1/10 mile he was struck in the rear by the car driven by plaintiff's husband. Defendant's speed at the time of the impact was estimated by him at between 30 and 35 miles per hour. The impact occurred in the east lane of traffic, a correct lane for cars traveling north. Plaintiff's car was traveling approximately 65--70 miles per hour on the return trip to Brookings. After passing the 41st Street viaduct he began slowing down in anticipation of taking the Highway 16 exit in order to procure gasoline. He estimated his speed at about 65 miles per hour when he first saw defendant's car in front of him and that defendant's car was no more than 50 feet ahead of him when he first saw it and that if it was moving at all, it was at a very slow rate. In response to the question of how the Adams car came into his Mr. Leo replied, 'Well, I just remember some of the glare from my headlights or seeing an object there. I don't recall seeing any reflectors or anything which were on a car other than the lights.' Mr. Leo was driving with his lights on dim at the time of the accident, and further testified that he did not see any lights on the Adams car and 'Well, the first thing I saw was a, I would say, possibly glare off the back part of the car and then, of course, I attempted to turn to the right to possibly avoid a glancing blow off into the other lane and [87 S.D. 344] at the same time I attempted to step on the brake, but we had a collision before anything could really be done.' The left lane of the two northbound lanes was clear of traffic. The highway patrolman who was called to the scene shortly after the accident testified that Adams' taillights were smashed in the accident and he was unable to determine whether or not they were working at the time of the collision, but that when he arrived, the headlights on defendant's car were still on, the car's motor was still running and, from his measurements, after the Adams car was struck, it went about 3/10 of a mile before it came to a stop. The officer further testified that Interstate 29 is posted for speeds, the maximum night spped being 70 miles per hour, the maximum daytime 75 miles per hour and the...

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3 cases
  • Farner v. Paccar, Inc., 76-1992
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • August 31, 1977
    ...the same under South Dakota law. See Raebel v. Fishers Grove Golf Course, Inc., 214 N.W.2d 785, 786 (S.D.1974); Leo v. Adams, 87 S.D. 341, 346, 208 N.W.2d 706, 709 (1973); Wilson v. Great Northern Railway Company, 83 S.D. 207, 213, 157 N.W.2d 19, 22 4 During this period, approximately 5,000......
  • Howard v. Bennett, 27851
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • April 19, 2017
    ...independent events the injury resulted." Christensen v. Krueger , 66 S.D. 66, 70, 278 N.W. 171, 173 (1938) ; accord Leo v. Adams , 87 S.D. 341, 347, 208 N.W.2d 706, 709 (1973). Because Bennett's negligence was not the proximate cause of Howard's injuries as a matter of law, we reverse and r......
  • Brosnahan v. Western Air Lines, Inc., 89-5045
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • December 22, 1989
    ...condition which affords an opportunity for the negligent acts of a third party to produce the injury. Mem. Op. at 6 (citing Leo v. Adams, 87 S.D. 341, 208 N.W.2d 706, 709 (1973)). The district court found that Western Air Lines' negligence only afforded an opportunity for a passenger to act......

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