Retherford v. Halliburton Co., 48406

CourtSupreme Court of Oklahoma
Citation572 P.2d 966,1977 OK 178
PartiesLakrisha RETHERFORD, Appellee, v. HALLIBURTON COMPANY, a foreign corporation and Wilbern Henry Hawes, Appellants.
Docket NumberNo. 48406,48406
Decision Date04 October 1977

Page 966

572 P.2d 966
Lakrisha RETHERFORD, Appellee,
HALLIBURTON COMPANY, a foreign corporation and Wilbern Henry
Hawes, Appellants.
No. 48406.
Supreme Court of Oklahoma.
Oct. 4, 1977.
Rehearing Denied Jan. 11, 1978.

Review of Certified Interlocutory Order of the District Court of Creek County (Both Bristow and Drumright Divisions); Charles S. Woodson, Judge.

Lakrisha Retherford (appellee) and her two minor children were involved in an automobile accident. Appellee, after suing and recovering damages for her personal injuries and damages to her automobile

Page 967

against appellants, commenced two new actions to recover damages for the loss of her children's services and their medical expenses. Halliburton Company and Wilbern Hawes (appellants interposed motions for summary judgment raising appellee's former recovery as a bar to the new actions for the reason that she had "split" her cause of action.

We hold that a single wrongful act or tort inflicted upon a single person endows that person with but a single action for the recovery of his damages however numerous may be the items or elements of damage resulting from the single wrongful act or tort. Appellee's personal injuries, property damage to her automobile, medical expenses expended on behalf of her children and loss of her two minor children's services constitute separate items or elements of her damage resulting from the same wrongful act or tort; thus, appellee's recovery in the former action for her personal injuries and property damage bars her present actions for recovery of damages for loss of services of her two minor children and their medical expenses. The trial court erred in overruling appellants' motions for summary judgment.


Jack B. Sellers, Sapulpa, for appellee; Joe A. Moore, Memphis, Tenn., of counsel.

Robert W. Blackstock, of Blackstock, McMillan & Vassar, Bristow, for appellants.

George B. Fraser, Norman, amicus curiae.

IRWIN, Justice.

Halliburton Company and Wilbern Henry Hawes (appellants) Petition for Review of a Certified Interlocutory Order wherein the trial court overruled appellants' motions for summary judgment. The facts are not in dispute.

Lakrisha Retherford (appellee) sustained personal injuries and property damage to her automobile as a result of a motor vehicle accident involving her car and a truck owned by appellant Halliburton and operated by appellant Hawes. Appellee commenced proceedings to recover for her personal injuries and property damage and recovered judgment for $118,237.50, plus interest. This judgment was paid in full and released.

Subsequently, appellee filed two new law suits which are the subject of this appeal. In each new suit, appellee sought to recover her damages for the medical bills and loss of services of each of her two minor children, one of the children was a passenger in the appellee's car and the other child was subsequently born with prenatal injuries allegedly caused by the accident. Appellants filed motions for summary judgment. Appellants urged appellee, as plaintiff below, had split her cause of action and that her prior suit was a bar to the instant proceedings. The trial court overruled the motions by order and certified its order an an appealable interlocutory order.

Where a single act or wrong causes personal injury and property damage to an individual, a substantial majority of jurisdictions hold that such act or wrong gives rise to only one cause of action and not to separate causes based, on the one hand, on the personal injury, and on the other, the property loss. 62 A.L.R.2d 977 "Injury-Person and Property-Splitting" 982. Oklahoma follows the majority rule. In Greater Oklahoma City Amusement, Inc. v. Moyer, Okl., 477 P.2d 73 (1970) we said the general rule against splitting causes of action is that a single wrong gives rise to one cause of action and for which only one suit may be maintained to recover all damage because of the commission of such wrong, however numerous the elements or items of damage resulting therefrom. In Lowder v. Oklahoma Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, Okl., 436 P.2d 654 (1967) we held:

"The negligent driving of a vehicle so as to cause damage to the person and property of another in a single collision is

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a single tort or wrong and is indivisible and gives rise to but one liability."

Appellants contend that only one "cause of action" arose by reason of the negligent operation of its vehicle, and all the damage done to appellee by reason of the wrong, i. e. her...

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56 cases
  • Willard v. Kelley, 69347
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 4 d2 Dezembro d2 1990
    ...provisions of the same policy. See Underside v. Lathrop, Okl., 645 P.2d 514, 515-516 (1982); Retherford v. Halliburton Co., Okl., 572 P.2d 966, 969-970 2 The pertinent terms of 36 O.S.1981 § 3636 are: "(A) No policy insuring against loss resulting from liability imposed by law for bodily in......
  • Andrew v. Depani-Sparkes, Case Number: 114082
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 16 d2 Maio d2 2017
    ...Supp. Br. 4.18 Appellants' Supp. Br. 4.19 Id. at 10. Earlier in their brief, however, the Andrews cite Retherford v. Halliburton Co., 1977 OK 178, 572 P.2d 966, and Rodgers v. Higgins, 1993 OK 45, 871 P.2d 398, both of which stand for the proposition that no matter how many theories of liab......
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    ...definition of a cause of action or claim for relief. See the definition for "cause of action" in Retherford v. Halliburton Company, 1977 OK 178, ¶ 11, 572 P.2d 966, 968-969; Chandler v. Denton, 1987 OK 38, ¶ 13, n. 20, 741 P.2d 855, 863-864; Resolution Trust Corp. v. Greer, 1995 OK 126, ¶ 1......
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    ...Appeal, Tab 1, Petition, May 16, 2019, pg. 2 ¶ 7.2 Mann , 1983 OK 84, 669 P.2d at 772, citing Retherford v. Halliburton Company , 1977 OK 178, 572 P.2d 966.3 I.T.K. v. Mounds Public Schools , 2019 OK 59, n. 12, & ¶¶ 11-12, 451 P.3d 125, 131 ; Christian v. Gray , 2003 OK 10, ¶ ¶ 40-47, 65 P.......
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