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Griffin v. Watkins

153 S.E.2d 356 (1967)

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Griffin v. Watkins

North Carolina Supreme Court

153 S.E.2d 356 (1967)

Facts

The owner and driver of a 1965 Pontiac automobile (plaintiff) collided on a highway with a 1960 John Deere tractor that was owned by the Dickerson Corporation and operated by its agent Watkins (defendants). At the time of the collision, the tractor had run out of gas and was parked in the south-bound lane of the highway with its right wheels on the shoulder when the Pontiac, which was travelling south in the same lane, hit the tractor. The Pontiac driver sued Dickerson and Watkins for negligence and sought personal-injury and property damages. Dickerson and Watkins denied the negligence allegation and alleged that the Pontiac driver’s contributory negligence caused the accident. Dickerson and Watkins specifically alleged that the Pontiac driver failed to operate his automobile at a speed that would permit the Pontiac driver to stop within the range of his headlights. Watkins also counterclaimed for his personal injuries. A jury returned a verdict for the Pontiac driver and awarded him $40,000 for his personal-injury damages and nothing for the damage to his automobile. Dickerson and Watkins appealed and argued that the trial judge’s instructions to the jury failed to require the jury to find more than a general failure to use due care vis-à-vis Dickerson and Watkins’s behavior and that the trial judge failed to instruct the jury on the Pontiac driver’s potential contributory negligence.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sharp, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Parker, C.J.)

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