Towe v. Sacagawea

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
  • Date Filed: 03-26-2015
  • Case #: S059896
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Linder, J. for the Court, before Balmer, C.J., Kistler, J., Baldwin, J., Walters, J. & Brewer, J.

When multiple factual conclusions could be reached from the record, comparing negligence among multiple actors is a jury question, and summary judgement should be denied.

Plaintiff brought a negligence claim against co-defendants after he was injured in a motorcycle accident. The first co-defendant, Mountain View, had placed a cable across the entrance to their property along a private road. Plaintiff did not see the cable and crashed his motorcycle as a result. Co-defendant Re/Max had placed a for sale sign for the Kinyon property, also on the private road, at the entrance to the private road, and plaintiff claims that he was distracted looking for the sign marking the property for sale. Defendants moved for summary judgment and the trial court granted co-defendants' motion, and held that plaintiff was solely responsible for the accident. Plaintiff appealed, and a divided panel of the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court on alternate grounds. Plaintiff appealed, and the Supreme Court reviewed for error in granting summary judgement. The Court held that the trial court erred because apportionment of negligence among multiple actors is a jury question. The Court affirmed the Court of Appeals grant of summary judgment to Re/Max on the alternate grounds of lack of evidence of cause-in-fact. The decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed in part and reversed in part. The judgment of the circuit court is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case is remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings.

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