California Court of Appeal
139 Cal. Rptr. 888 (1977)
Robert and Carol Brokopp (plaintiffs) sued Ford Motor Co. (Ford) (defendant) for injuries resulting from a single-vehicle accident. The Brokopps alleged that their automobile’s power steering belt came off its pulley while the pulley was still moving, as opposed to coming off the pulley as a result of the accident. At trial, expert witnesses for both sides concurred that the belt showed no marks from which one could conclude that it came off while the pulley was in motion. In opening and closing arguments, counsel for the Brokopps (1) asserted that the jury should place themselves in Mr. Brokopp’s shoes in determining how large an award to give, (2) appealed to the jurors’ sympathies by comparing Mr. Brokopp with Ford, a large corporation, (3) criticized the evasiveness of Ford’s witnesses, (4) appealed to the jurors’ self-interest by suggesting that Ford rather than taxpayers should pay for Mr. Brokopp’s stay at a V.A. hospital, and (5) suggested that he—and the jurors—could see marks on the power steering belt that were attributable to it coming off of a moving pulley. In discussing the belt, counsel for the Brokopps pulled out a crayon and began marking the belt. Ford’s counsel did not object to any of the foregoing conduct, or request any admonitions, except with respect to the marking of the belt, to which the judge responded by removing the markings and instructing counsel not to mark any exhibits. At the close of trial, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the Brokopps for $3,010,000. Ford appealed, arguing that the verdict should be overturned because of improper arguments made by plaintiffs’ counsel to the jury.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kaufman, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 205,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.