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Gorton v. Doty

Supreme Court of Idaho
69 P.2d 136 (1937)


Facts

Richard Gorton, a high school football player, was injured in an accident while riding in a car owned by Doty (defendant) but driven by Garst, the football team’s coach. The accident occurred when team members were being driven back from an away game by adult volunteers in privately owned cars. The day before the game, Doty asked Garst if he had obtained enough cars to transport the entire team. When Garst said that he needed an additional auto, Doty volunteered her car, on the condition that Garst agree to drive it. A key issue at trial was whether a principal-agent relationship existed between Doty and Garst at the time of the accident, which would result in Doty’s full liability for the actions of Garst. In an attempt to show that no agency relationship existed, Doty testified that she had merely loaned her car to Garst, that Garst did not work for Doty, nor did Garst promise Doty any compensation for use of her car. But Doty also testified that she had asked Garst if he needed another car and that Garst could use Doty’s car if he drove it. The jury awarded monetary damages to R.S. Gorton (plaintiff), father of Richard Gorton, finding that Garst was acting as Doty’s agent, and consequently Doty was liable for the damages. 

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Holden, 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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Dissent (Budge, J.)

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