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Hutchins v. Schwartz

Alaska Supreme Court
724 P.2d 1194 (1986)


Facts

Charles (plaintiff) and Donna Hutchins were in a car accident with Robert Schwartz (defendant). Charles incurred various cuts and bruises and broke his big toe. Charles was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. Charles sued Schwartz, seeking damages of $275,000 for his injuries. At trial, the judge admitted evidence relating to Charles’s failure to wear a seatbelt. However, the judge later instructed the jury to disregard the evidence about Charles’s seatbelt. The jury found that Charles was 40 percent negligent and Schwartz was 60 percent negligent. The jury awarded $1,937.09 in damages to Charles. Charles moved for a new trial or a verdict notwithstanding the evidence, arguing that the trial court improperly admitted evidence of his failure to use a seatbelt.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Compton, 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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