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Getchell v. Lodge

Supreme Court of Alaska
65 P.3d 50 (2003)


Facts

Barbara Lodge (defendant) was driving on an ice-covered highway at approximately 45 miles per hour, 10 miles per hour below the speed limit. A moose walked onto the highway, and Lodge immediately slammed on her brakes. The icy road caused Lodge’s car to spin out, onto the other side of the highway. Joyce Getchell (plaintiff) was driving in the opposite direction and ran into Lodge, causing Getchell injury. Getchell brought suit against Lodge, claiming negligence per se on the ground that Lodge violated state statutes prohibiting drivers from crossing onto the other side of the highway. Lodge’s expert witness testified that Lodge had extremely limited time within which to react to the moose and correct her car’s spin, and that an average driver could not have avoided the statutory violation. The jury found in favor of Lodge. Getchell filed motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and a new trial, which the trial court denied. Getchell appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Fabe, C.J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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