Oliver v. Blakeney

Citation244 S.C. 565,137 S.E.2d 772
Decision Date13 August 1964
Docket NumberNo. 18254,18254
PartiesMartha Ann OLIVER by David D. Oilver, Her Guardian Ad Litem, Respondent, v. Reece BLAKENEY and R. W. Jordan, Appellants.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina

McCaskill & Thompson, Conway, for appellants.

L. C. Wannamaker, Cheraw, H. F. Bell, Chesterfield, for respondent.

LEWIS, Justice.

The plaintiff brought this action to recover for personal injuries sustained when the pick-up truck driven by her overturned as she was attempting to avoid striking the defendant's truck. Both vehicles were proceeding in the same direction of long Highway No. 9, near Pageland, South Carolina, the defendant's vehicle travelling ahead. It was alleged that the plaintiff's injury and damage resulted from the negligent and reckless act of defendant's employee in suddenly and without warning stopping his truck in plaintiff's lane of travel. Upon the trial of the case the plaintiff recovered judgment for actual damages in the amount of $25,000.00, and the defendant has appealed. The questions for determination, preserved by appropriate motions of the defendant in the lower court and exceptions here, are whether the lower court erred in refusing to hold (1) that the plaintiff was barred of recovery by her own contributory negligence and recklessness, and (2) that the verdict was so excessive as to indicate bias and prejudice on the part of the jury. These will be disputed of in the order stated.

The plaintiff worked at Pagelana, approximately six miles from her home. The accident occurred on February 21, 1962, as she was driving a pick-up truck to her home for lunch. It was drizzling rain at the time. As she rounded a curve in the highway she observed the defendant's truck proceeding ahead of her. She followed this truck for about one half mile before the accident, maintaining a distance behind it of 150 to 200 feet and travelling at a speed of 40 to 45 miles per hour. When he driver of the defendant's truck reached a point opposite a house located to his left of the road, he suddenly stopped his vehicle on the highway without prior warning or signal of his intention to do so. The stop was apparently made in response to the signal of a small boy who came out from the house. There was testimony that there was ample room in the yard of the house for the truck to have been driven off the travelled portion of the road before stopping, and that the rear stop light on the truck, normally actuated by the application of the brakes, was not operating at the time. When the plaintiff first realized that the truck had stopped, she was approximately 50 feet away and could not pass to the left without striking the small boy who was then standing on the paved part of the road on the left of, and approximately even with, the driver of the defendant's vehicle. When she saw that she could not pass the truck to the left because of the boy standing on the pavement, the plaintiff applied her brakes and turned to the right. Her vehicle missed the rear of defendant's truck, left the highway, and overturned, resulting in the personal injuries for which she now seeks recovery.

There was testimony that the defendant's truck was brought to a stop without prior warning or signal of such intention, in violation of Section 46-406 of the 1962 Code of Laws; and that it was stopped on the travelled portion of the highway, when it was practicable to have driven off the road before stopping, in violation of Section 46-481. The evidence of these statutory provisions was not only negligence per se but, under the circumstances, was evidence of recklessness and wilfulness. Jumper v. Goodwin, 239 S.C. 508, 123 S.E.2d 857.

The defendant contends that the lower court erred in refusing to hold under the foregoing testimony that the plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence and recklessness and, therefore, barred of recovery. Since there was evidence which would have warranted a finding that the driver of the defendant's truck was guilty of recklessness, and as there was no special finding by the jury on that issue, in order to sustain this contention of the defendant, it must appear that the plaintiff was guilty of contributory recklessness as a matter of law, since simple contributory negligence would not constitute a defense to reckless or wilful conduct. Callison v. Charleston & W. C. Ry. Co., 106 S.C. 123, 90 S.E. 260; Jumper v. Goodwin, supra, 239 S.C. 508, 123 S.E.2d 857; Lawless v. Fraser, S.C., 137 S.E.2d 591.

The defendant bases his contention that the plaintiff was guilty of contributory recklessness upon her alleged failure to keep a proper look-out, and in following the defendant's truck too closely in violation of Code Section 46-393 which provides that the driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and...

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18 cases
  • Precopio v. City of Detroit, Dept. of Transp.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • 23 Diciembre 1982
    ...one day a week, where surgery would not relieve condition, and where community activities severely curtailed;--Oliver v. Blakeney, 244 S.C. 565, 137 S.E.2d 772 (1964), $25,000 award where 18-year-old plaintiff sustained whiplash injury, suffered chronic pain, experienced loss of wages for e......
  • Langley v. Boyter, 0325
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 26 Enero 1984
    ...Woods, The Negligence Case § 1:6. See also Davenport v. Walker, 280 S.C. 588, 313 S.E.2d 354 (S.C.App.1984), citing Oliver v. Blakeney, 244 S.C. 565, 137 S.E.2d 772 (1964) (simple contributory negligence is not a defense to reckless or wilful The most important exception is the doctrine of ......
  • Myers v. Dollar Gen. Corp., C.A. No.: 2:15-cv-02869-MGB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 1 Junio 2017
    ...242 (2001) (noting that loss of enjoyment of life is a compensable element of damages in negligence claim); Oliver v. Blakeney, 244 S.C. 565, 572, 137 S.E.2d 772, 776 (1964) (stating, in the context of a negligence claim, "The elements of damage which the jury couldproperly consider in dete......
  • Faust v. South Carolina State Highway Dept., Civ. A. No. 78-776
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 11 Diciembre 1981
    ......I find that the approach and figures used by the plaintiff's expert witness, namely, Dr. Oliver G. Wood, Jr., is a more practical approach to the problem and adopt his findings as to the economic loss suffered by the Faust family. The Court ... Watson v. Wilkinson Trucking Co., 244 S.C. 217, 136 S.E.2d 286, 291 (1964); Oliver v. Blakeney, 244 S.C. 565, 137 S.E.2d 772, 776 (1964). .         Based on the foregoing findings of fact and conclusions of law, it is . ......
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