Scheibel v. Hillis, No. 59000

CourtMissouri Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSEILER; HOLMAN; HENLEY; DONNELLY; HENLEY; DONNELLY
Citation531 S.W.2d 285
PartiesDennis SCHEIBEL, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Betty HILLIS et al., Defendants, Betty Hillis, Defendant-Respondent.
Decision Date12 January 1976
Docket NumberNo. 59000

Page 285

531 S.W.2d 285
Dennis SCHEIBEL, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Betty HILLIS et al., Defendants,
Betty Hillis, Defendant-Respondent.
No. 59000.
Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc.
Jan. 12, 1976.

Page 287

Joyce P. Hayes, St. Louis, Hayes & Hayes, St. Louis, for appellant.

Kemper R. Coffelt, St. Louis, Heneghan & Roberts, St. Louis, for defendants-respondent.

SEILER, Chief Justice.

The question presented is whether plaintiff's petition in a case where plaintiff was shot by a third person with a weapon kept by defendant in her house states a claim upon which relief can be granted. The trial court held it did not, 1 which was affirmed by the court of appeals, St. Louis district. We transferred the case on application of plaintiff, Art. V, Sec. 10, 1945 Missouri Constitution. We reverse and remand.

Borrowing the language of the court of appeals reducing the petition to its simplest terms, 2 plaintiff alleges that on or about February 14, 1972, in the residence of defendant Betty Hillis, plaintiff was shot in the right leg with a 12 gauge, single-barrel shotgun, owned by the defendant and fired by one Richard James Joyner; that defendant with full knowledge of prior particular acts of Joyner of a mischievous, wanton and brutal nature, and wanton and willful acts of violence against other persons did keep in her possession said loaded shotgun; that prior to February 14, 1972 defendant notified Joyner of such possession; that said weapon was kept in a place where defendant knew or should have known that Joyner was likely to use it so as to create an unreasonable risk of harm to plaintiff and other persons; that defendant failed to give plaintiff any warning or notice of Joyner's dangerous and violent propensities and character, wanton disposition and threats of which defendant knew or should have known, and of the fact that she kept a loaded shotgun as protection from Joyner; and that as a direct and proximate result of the foregoing negligence and carelessness of defendant, together with Joyner's firing of said weapon at plaintiff with the intention of inflicting great bodily harm and injury, plaintiff suffered severe and painful injuries and other loss and damages.

Page 288

A petition seeking damages for actionable negligence must allege 'ultimate facts' which, if proven, show (1) existence of a duty on the part of the defendant to protect the plaintiff from injury, (2) failure of defendant to perform that duty, and (3) injury to the plaintiff resulting from such failure. Stevens v. Wetterau Foods, Inc., 501 S.W.2d 494, 498 (Mo.App.1973); Wise v. Towse, 366 S.W.2d 506, 510 (Mo.App.1963).

A duty to exercise care not only may be imposed by a controlling statute or ordinance or assumed by entering into a contractual relationship, but it may be imposed by common law under the circumstances of a given case. Zuber v. Clarkson Const. Co., 363 Mo. 352, 251 S.W.2d 52, 55 (1952). As to the duty owed to invitees, licensees and trespassers by an owner-occupier of land, the significance of the status largely disappears once the presence of the visitor becomes known, and a uniform duty, that of reasonable care, is owed to each as to the activities conducted on the premises. Penberthy v. Penberthy, 505 S.W.2d 122, 126 (Mo.App.1973). Negligence depends upon the surrounding circumstances and the particular conduct involved, because an act or omission which would clearly be negligent in some circumstances would not be negligent in others. Tharp v. Monsees, 327 S.W.2d 889, 893--4 (Mo.banc 1959); Zuber v. Clarkson Construction Co., supra, 251 S.W.2d at 55. The circumstances may even be such that an otherwise innocent act will become negligent because of the expectable action of a third person. Zuber v. Clarkson Const. Co., supra at 55. It has been said that where an instrumentality is rendered dangerous to persons rightfully in its proximity by the act of a third person which act might have been reasonably anticipated by the person responsible for the instrumentality, failure to take appropriate precautions to avoid injury constitutes negligence. Triplett v. Shafer, 300 S.W.2d 528, 531 (Mo.App.1957); Zuber v. Clarkson Const. Co., supra, 251 S.W.2d at 55. This is true whether the third person's act is innocent, negligent, intentionally tortious or criminal. Zuber v. Clarkson Const. Co., supra, at 55.

The reasonable anticipation of danger is an essential element of actionable negligence; and whether negligence exists in a particular situation depends on whether or not a reasonably prudent person would have anticipated danger and provided against it. Hodges v. American Bakeries Company, 412 S.W.2d 157, 162 (Mo.banc 1967); Price v. Seidler, 408 S.W.2d 815, 822 (Mo.1966). Restatement (Second), Torts, Sec. 302B, comment e, note D requires that a reasonable man must anticipate and guard against the intentional or criminal...

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131 practice notes
  • Hyde v. City of Columbia, No. WD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • June 15, 1982
    ...This principle of liability has scope even where the misconduct of the third person is intentional or criminal. Scheibel v. Hillis, 531 S.W.2d 285 (Mo. banc 1976) expounds the standard (a paraphrase of Restatement (Second) of Torts § 449 (1965) ), l.c. (I)f the foreseeable likelihood that a......
  • Thompson v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., No. WD 63897.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • August 22, 2006
    ...to plaintiffs resulting from such failure." Hill v. Gen. Motors Corp., 637 S.W.2d 382, 384 (Mo.App. E.D.1982) (citing Scheibel v. Hillis, 531 S.W.2d 285, 288 (Mo. banc 1976)). "The particular standard of care that society recognizes as applicable under a given set of facts is a question of ......
  • Schofield v. Merrill
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
    • May 13, 1982
    ...412 U.S. 939, 93 S.Ct. 2774, 37 L.Ed.2d 399 (1973); Webb v. City & Borough of Sitka, 561 P.2d 731 (Alas.1977); Scheibel v. Hillis, 531 S.W.2d 285 (Mo.1976); Cunningham v. Hayes, 463 S.W.2d 555 (Mo.App.1971) Page 343 . 7 Other courts, in cases [386 Mass. 250] involving trespassers, have abol......
  • Gaines-Tabb v. Ici Explosives Usa, Inc., No. CIV-95-719-R.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • July 2, 1996
    ...to establish duty but to establish causation as well, citing, e.g., Rubin v. Johnson, 550 N.E.2d 324 (Ind.App.1990); Scheibel v. Hillis, 531 S.W.2d 285 (Mo.1976); and Restatement (Second) of Torts § An essential element of a negligence cause of action is the existence of a duty owed by the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
132 cases
  • Hyde v. City of Columbia, No. WD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • June 15, 1982
    ...This principle of liability has scope even where the misconduct of the third person is intentional or criminal. Scheibel v. Hillis, 531 S.W.2d 285 (Mo. banc 1976) expounds the standard (a paraphrase of Restatement (Second) of Torts § 449 (1965) ), l.c. (I)f the foreseeable likelihood that a......
  • Thompson v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., No. WD 63897.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • August 22, 2006
    ...to plaintiffs resulting from such failure." Hill v. Gen. Motors Corp., 637 S.W.2d 382, 384 (Mo.App. E.D.1982) (citing Scheibel v. Hillis, 531 S.W.2d 285, 288 (Mo. banc 1976)). "The particular standard of care that society recognizes as applicable under a given set of facts is a question of ......
  • Schofield v. Merrill
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
    • May 13, 1982
    ...412 U.S. 939, 93 S.Ct. 2774, 37 L.Ed.2d 399 (1973); Webb v. City & Borough of Sitka, 561 P.2d 731 (Alas.1977); Scheibel v. Hillis, 531 S.W.2d 285 (Mo.1976); Cunningham v. Hayes, 463 S.W.2d 555 (Mo.App.1971) Page 343 . 7 Other courts, in cases [386 Mass. 250] involving trespassers, have abol......
  • Gaines-Tabb v. Ici Explosives Usa, Inc., No. CIV-95-719-R.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • July 2, 1996
    ...to establish duty but to establish causation as well, citing, e.g., Rubin v. Johnson, 550 N.E.2d 324 (Ind.App.1990); Scheibel v. Hillis, 531 S.W.2d 285 (Mo.1976); and Restatement (Second) of Torts § An essential element of a negligence cause of action is the existence of a duty owed by the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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