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Gilliam v. Stewart

291 So. 2d 593 (1974)

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Gilliam v. Stewart

Florida Supreme Court

291 So. 2d 593 (1974)

Facts

Cars being driven by Freddie Gilliam and Robert Bradley (defendants) collided with each other and were propelled over the street curb and onto the property of Jane Stewart (Jane) and J. Parks Stewart (Stewart) (the Stewarts) (plaintiffs). Gilliam’s car hit a tree on the property, and Bradley’s car hit the house. Jane heard the cars crashing into each other and hitting the tree and house but did not feel any physical impact when the car hit the house. Stewart looked through a window on the front porch and saw Gilliam’s car against the tree and Bradley’s car against the house. Jane ran out of the house to see if anyone was hurt and went back in to use the telephone. Within 15 minutes, Jane was experiencing chest pains, and two hours later she was in the intensive care unit, having suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack). Jane’s family physician attributed Jane’s heart attack to the fright caused by the collision. The Stewarts sued Gilliam and Bradley, alleging that Gilliam and Bradley’s negligent operation of their cars proximately caused a shock to Jane’s nervous system that resulted in a heart attack. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Gilliam and Bradley. The court of appeal reversed, and the state supreme court granted review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Drew, J.)

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