Ryan v. Cameron

Decision Date28 June 1955
Citation71 N.W.2d 408,270 Wis. 325
PartiesGeorge RYAN, Appellant, v. Mrs. Vernon CAMERON et al., Respondents.
CourtWisconsin Supreme Court

Action by the plaintiff George Ryan against the defendants Mrs. Vernon Cameron and her insurance carrier, State Farm Mutual Insurance Company, to recover damages arising out of an automobile accident. The action was tried to a court and jury, and at the conclusion of the trial the court granted defendants' motion for a directed verdict. Judgment was accordingly entered on November 8, 1954, dismissing the plaintiff's complaint upon its merits and awarding the defendants costs and disbursements. From such judgment the plaintiff appeals. The facts will be stated in the opinion.

Wiernick & Zurlo, Milwaukee, Clinton A. Boone, Milwaukee, of counsel, for appellant.

Kivett & Kasdorf, Milwaukee, John R. Henderson, Chicago, of counsel, for respondents.

CURRIE, Justice.

The plaintiff Ryan sought to recover damages upon the ground that the defendant Mrs. Cameron was negligent in parking at night partly on the traveled portion of the highway the automobile operated by her, and that, due to such negligence, plaintiff was injured as a result of his car skidding on the icy surface of the highway and striking a tree as a result of plaintiff swerving his own automobile in an attempt to pass around the parked vehicle.

The learned trial court granted defendants' motion for a directed verdict upon the ground that the evidence disclosed that the negligence of plaintiff was as great, if not greater, than that of the defendant Mrs. Vernon Cameron.

It is axiomatic that a trial court, in passing on a motion by a defendant for a directed verdict, is required to construe the evidence most favorable to the plaintiff. Leonard v. Employers Mut. Liability Ins. Co., 1953, 265 Wis. 464, 469, 62 N.W.2d 10; and Engstrum v. Sentinel Co., 1936, 221 Wis. 577, 578, 267 N.W. 536. Therefore, although there was sharp conflict in the testimony presented we will chiefly refer to that which was favorable to the plaintiff in passing on the issue before us on this appeal of whether it was error to grant the directed verdict.

The defendant, Mrs. Cameron, on the evening of March 4, 1953, visited her sister, Mrs. Bauer, whose home was located on the south side of the Puetz Road in southern Milwaukee county. She made the trip from her own home some five miles distant in the automobile of her husband and, as she approached the Bauer home, she was driving in a westerly direction. She discovered that her mother had preceded her to the Bauer home and that the latter had parked her automobile in the Bauer private driveway leading at right angles southerly from the Puetz Road. Mrs. Cameron concluded that there was not sufficient space left to the north of her mother's car to permit the parking of the Cameron automobile in the private driveway without the rear of the latter vehicle protruding into the highway. Because of such conclusion, Mrs. Cameron parked the automobile she was operating on the north side of the highway facing west without leaving any lights burning on the car. The traveled portion of Puetz Road is from 20 to 22 feet wide and it was Mrs. Cameron's testimony that half of her car was on the traveled portion of the road and half on the narrow shoulder to the north. A deputy sheriff testified that Mrs. Cameron could not have been off the traveled portion of the highway very much--'only about a couple of inches at best'.

Most of the testimony was to the effect that there was not sufficient room to the north of the parked automobile of Mrs. Cameron's mother in the Bauer driveway to have permitted Mrs. Cameron also to park her husband's car in such driveway without protruding into the highway. Nevertheless, Mrs. Bauer, the sister of Mrs. Cameron, testified that the driveway was from 75 to 100 feet long, although she thought it was closer to 75 feet than it was to 100 feet; and that her mother had parked about half way up the driveway. This was credible testimony which the jury might well have accepted as true in passing on the question of whether Mrs. Cameron violated sec. 85.19(1), Stats., 1 in parking her husband's automobile on the highway when it was 'practical to park' the same 'off the roadway of such highway.' In leaving the vehicle standing on the roadway without any lights, Mrs. Cameron thereby violated sec. 85.06(5), Stats., 2 which constituted negligence per se on her part.

The plaintiff resides on the Puetz Road approximately one half mile to the east of the Bauer home. On the evening of the accident he drove his automobile westerly on such highway at about 10 p. m. The road was icy and slippery. To the east of the Bauer residence there are two hills, the higher of the two being the one to the east. As plaintiff came over the brow of this higher hill he saw the lights of another car approaching from the opposite direction and thereupon put his headlights on low beam. Shortly after coming over the second hill when approximately 100 to 110 feet west of the parked Cameron car he saw it for the first time. He testified that when about 75 feet distant from such parked vehicle he attempted to turn his car to the left so as to pass around the Cameron automobile but in doing so his car skidded and he lost control, and his car struck a tree and he was injured. He estimated that he was traveling at a speed of 20 miles per hour at the time he first sighted the Cameron car, and the evidence disclosed that his automobile traveled about 300 feet from the point where he attempted to turn left until the tree was struck. He at no time applied his brakes.

This court has recognized that skidding on a slippery pavement may occur without fault. Churchill v. Brock, 1953, 264 Wis. 23, 58 N.W.2d 290; and Linden v. Miller, 1920, 172 Wis. 20, 177 N.W. 909, 12 A.L.R. 665. Under the facts testified to by plaintiff, a jury issue was presented as to whether plaintiff was negligent with respect to speed, lookout, and management and control....

To continue reading

Request your trial
21 cases
  • Fandrey v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Supreme Court
    • June 3, 2004
    ...test for cause-in-fact is equally as broad, as it eliminates the doctrines of superseding and intervening cause. See Ryan v. Cameron, 270 Wis. 325, 331, 71 N.W.2d 408 (1955). As noted infra, these doctrines are now subsumed in the public policy 9. It is clear that in Rockweit v. Senecal, 19......
  • Bentzler v. Braun
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Supreme Court
    • April 11, 1967
    ...series, 3d ed.), p. 309, sec. 51.25 Strahlendorf v. Walgreen Co. (1962), 16 Wis.2d 421, 430, 114 N.W.2d 823; Ryan v. Cameron (1955), 270 Wis. 325, 331, 71 N.W.2d 408; Merlino v. Mutual Service Casualty Ins. Co. (1964), 23 Wis.2d 571, 580, 127 N.W.2d 741.26 Restatement, Torts (2d), p. 478, s......
  • Schilling v. Stockel
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Supreme Court
    • March 2, 1965
    ...(1962), 18 Wis.2d 166, 171, 118 N.W.2d 118; Strahlendorf v. Walgreen Co. (1962), 16 Wis.2d 421, 429, 114 N.W.2d 823; Ryan v. Cameron (1955), 270 Wis. 325, 331, 71 N.W.2d 408. In examining Mr. Schilling's conduct, it may be tempting to conclude that because he could not reasonably have fores......
  • Olson v. Ratzel, 77-637
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Court of Appeals
    • March 8, 1979
    ...Rehab. Center, supra note 50.64 United States Fidelity & Guar. v. Frantl Indus., supra note 61, 241 N.W.2d at 428; Ryan v. Cameron, 270 Wis. 325, 71 N.W.2d 408, 411 (1955). See also Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 453 ...
  • 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