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Bigbee v. Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co.

Supreme Court of California
665 P.2d 947 (1983)


In November 1974, Charles Bigbee (plaintiff) was severely injured after being struck by an automobile while standing in a phone booth owned by Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company (Pacific) (defendant). Bigbee brought an action against Pacific, alleging in part that Pacific had acted negligently in deciding to place the phone booth close to a busy street where drivers were likely to speed. At trial, Pacific brought a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Pacific did not owe a duty of care to Bigbee because, as a matter of law, a car could not foreseeably veer off the street and strike the phone booth with a user inside. The trial court granted Pacific’s motion. Bigbee appealed the decision, arguing that the foreseeability of the alleged harm was an issue for the trier of fact and should not have been decided as a matter of law.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Bird, C.J.)

Dissent (Kroninger, J.)

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