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Eaton v. Eaton

Supreme Court of New Jersey
575 A.2d 858 (1990)


Facts

Sandra Eaton (plaintiff) and Donna Eaton (defendant) were travelling in a vehicle that went off the road at high speed and overturned. Sandra died from injuries suffered during the accident. Before her death, Sandra told police that Donna had been driving, and the police found evidence in support of Sandra’s claim. Donna contended that Sandra had been driving and had gone off the road to avoid another vehicle. A lawsuit claiming negligence against Donna was brought on Sandra’s behalf. At trial, the jury was essentially asked to accept either Donna’s or Sandra’s version of the events leading up to the accident, as neither party suggested any other explanation. The jury found that Donna had been the driver, but returned a verdict in Donna’s favor. Sandra appealed the decision, arguing that the jury should have been instructed on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pollock, J.)

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