Vines v. Plantation Motor Lodge

CourtSupreme Court of Alabama
Writing for the CourtEMBRY; HEFLIN
Citation336 So.2d 1338
Decision Date03 September 1976
PartiesLinner VINES, etc., et al., v. PLANTATION MOTOR LODGE et al. SC 1807.

Page 1338

336 So.2d 1338
Linner VINES, etc., et al.,
v.
PLANTATION MOTOR LODGE et al.
SC 1807.
Supreme Court of Alabama.
Sept. 3, 1976.

Grover S. McLeod, Birmingham, for appellants.

No appearance for appellees.

EMBRY, Justice.

When keys are left in an unlocked vehicle in violation of a city ordinance, the vehicle stolen, and is involved in an accident, should summary judgments be entered for defendant owner in negligence actions brought by injured plaintiffs?

Summary judgments were properly granted, therefore we affirm.

A truck owned by Tommy Wesson (appellee, d/b/a Plantation Motor Lodge) was parked in an alley behind his motor lodge and left unlocked with the keys in the ignition; the truck was stolen and a short time later, operated by the thief, collided with the motorcycle that Bobby Dean Vines and her husband, Gary Vines, were riding. Bobby Dean was injured and Gary killed.

Page 1339

Actions were filed, on account of the injuries and death, alleging that Wesson was negligent in violating a Birmingham city ordinance:

'No person having charge or control of a vehicle shall allow such vehicle to stand on any street or alley unattended without first effectively setting the brakes thereon, stopping the motor of such vehicle, locking, the ignition, removing the ignition key and taking such key with him; and when standing upon any grade without turning the front wheels of such vehicle to the curb or side of the street.' Birmingham General Code, § 34--92 (1964).

Wesson's motions for summary judgments were granted, judgments entered accordingly, Bobby Dean Vines and the administratrix of Gary's estate take this appeal.

The issue is whether negligence per se, by the ordinance's violation, is the proximate cause of injuries and death resulting from the thief's operation of the stolen vehicle. Appellants say it is; Wesson and the trial judge say it is not.

The facts in this case show that appellee, Wesson, parked his truck behind his motelbar in a dark alley with the keys in it and the truck not locked. Shortly thereafter, a nineteen-year-old stole the truck and while driving it, apparently under the influence of drugs, he caused it to collide with the Vines' motorcycle. The location from which the truck was stolen is an area containing many stores and bars; auto theft is a high incident crime of which an alarming number occur when keys are left in the vehicle; a substantial proportion of stolen vehicles are involved in accidents, frequently after high-speed chases through cities, and often result in damage to property and person of innocent victims.

Whether a vehicle owner who fails to remove keys from the ignition switch of his parked vehicle can be held liable for personal injury or property damage, resulting...

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75 practice notes
  • Bowden ex rel. Bowden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Civil Action No. 99-D-880-E.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • November 29, 2000
    ...act or omission which an ordinarily prudent person ought reasonably to foresee would result in injury." Vines v. Plantation Motor Lodge, 336 So.2d 1338, 1339 (Ala.1976). The question of proximate cause is typically one for the jury to decide. See Davison v. Mobile Infirmary, 456 So.2d 14, 2......
  • General Motors Corp. v. Edwards
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • November 15, 1985
    ...him of his liability by breaking the chain of causation between his act and the resulting injury. Vines v. Plantation Motor Lodge, 336 So.2d 1338 (Ala.1976). This Court has "However negligent a person may have been in some particular, he is liable only to those who may have been injured by ......
  • Bobo v. Tenn. Valley Auth., Civil Action No. CV 12-S-1930-NE
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Alabama
    • September 29, 2015
    ...which the injury would not have occurred.") (quoting Martin v. Arnold , 643 So.2d 564, 567 (Ala.1994)); Vines v. Plantation Motor Lodge , 336 So.2d 1338, 1339 (Ala.1976)("Liability will be imposed only when negligence is the proximate cause of injury; injury must be a natural and probable c......
  • Richardson v. Carnegie Library Restaurant, Inc., No. 17432
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court of New Mexico
    • October 18, 1988
    ...120 N.H. 925, 932, 424 A.2d 825, 830 (1980); Arneson v. Olson, 270 N.W.2d 125, 135 (N.D.1978). 6 See Vines v. Plantation Motor Lodge, 336 So.2d 1338, 1340 (Ala.1976); Bennett v. Artic Insulation, Inc., 253 F.2d 652, 654 (9th Cir.1958); Richards v. Stanley, 43 Cal.2d 60, 65, 271 P.2d 23, 26-......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
75 cases
  • Bowden ex rel. Bowden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Civil Action No. 99-D-880-E.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • November 29, 2000
    ...act or omission which an ordinarily prudent person ought reasonably to foresee would result in injury." Vines v. Plantation Motor Lodge, 336 So.2d 1338, 1339 (Ala.1976). The question of proximate cause is typically one for the jury to decide. See Davison v. Mobile Infirmary, 456 So.2d 14, 2......
  • General Motors Corp. v. Edwards
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • November 15, 1985
    ...him of his liability by breaking the chain of causation between his act and the resulting injury. Vines v. Plantation Motor Lodge, 336 So.2d 1338 (Ala.1976). This Court has "However negligent a person may have been in some particular, he is liable only to those who may have been injured by ......
  • Bobo v. Tenn. Valley Auth., Civil Action No. CV 12-S-1930-NE
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Alabama
    • September 29, 2015
    ...which the injury would not have occurred.") (quoting Martin v. Arnold , 643 So.2d 564, 567 (Ala.1994)); Vines v. Plantation Motor Lodge , 336 So.2d 1338, 1339 (Ala.1976)("Liability will be imposed only when negligence is the proximate cause of injury; injury must be a natural and probable c......
  • Richardson v. Carnegie Library Restaurant, Inc., No. 17432
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court of New Mexico
    • October 18, 1988
    ...120 N.H. 925, 932, 424 A.2d 825, 830 (1980); Arneson v. Olson, 270 N.W.2d 125, 135 (N.D.1978). 6 See Vines v. Plantation Motor Lodge, 336 So.2d 1338, 1340 (Ala.1976); Bennett v. Artic Insulation, Inc., 253 F.2d 652, 654 (9th Cir.1958); Richards v. Stanley, 43 Cal.2d 60, 65, 271 P.2d 23, 26-......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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