Marshall was riding in
Harriman's car on an icy road. Harriman saw a truck driven by Prince
coming towards him and swerved, losing control of the car and ending up in
a ditch. Prince stopped his truck in the middle of the road and got out to
help. The three of them worked to get the car out of the ditch.
Nugent came along, saw the
truck blocking the road, swerved, lost control on the ice and ran into
Marshall, who was injured.
Marshall sued Nugent and
Prince's employer, Socony.
The Trial Court found for Marshall
and against Nugent and Socony. Socony appealed.
Socony argued that Prince
was not the proximate cause of the
accident. At the time Marshall was injured, Prince's truck was stuck in
a ditch, how could he have been responsible?
The Appellate Court affirmed.
The Appellate Court found
that all the events, from the original Harriman swerve to Marshall
getting run over by Nugent, were all part of the same general event.
The Court found that since
Marshall would not have been on the side of an dangerous icy road if it
wasn't for Prince's poor driving, Prince (and therefore Socony) was a proximate
cause of Marshall's injuries.
aka Prince's actions put
Marshal in a place of increased danger.
This case can be distinguished
from Ventricelli v. Kinney System Rent a Car, Inc. (383 N.E.2d 1149 (1978)) because in that case
Kinney put Ventricelli in the wrong place at the wrong time, but didn't
put Ventricelli in a position of increased danger. In this case, Prince's
action put Marshall in a place of increased danger.
Ventricelli was parked in a
legal parking place, Marshall was flagging down cars on an icy highway.