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Breunig v. American Family Insurance Co.

173 N.W.2d 619 (Wis. 1970)

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Breunig v. American Family Insurance Co.

Wisconsin Supreme Court

173 N.W.2d 619 (Wis. 1970)

Breunig v. American Family Insurance Co.

Facts

Phillip Breunig (plaintiff) was hit by a car driven by Erma Veith, an insured of American Family Insurance Co. (defendant). Veith’s car veered across the center lane of the road into Breunig’s lane. Immediately prior to the accident, Veith suffered an “insane delusion which rendered her unable to operate the automobile with her conscious mind.” Veith saw a white light on the car in front of her and believed God was directing her car. Veith accelerated, believing she could fly “because Batman does it.” Veith had a history of hallucinatory visions prior to the accident. American Family refused to pay Breunig's claim. Breunig sued American Family on the ground that Veith was negligent. American Family argued that Veith could not be held liable for negligence because of her insane delusion. At trial, the jury returned a verdict for Breunig and awarded $10,000 in damages, which was later reduced to $7,000. American Family appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hallows, C.J.)

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