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Jagneaux v. Louisiana Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co.
Louisiana Court of Appeal
771 So. 2d 109 (2000)
Jeremy Byrne, a 15-year-old, was driving a tractor with his friend Chris Edwards seated on the armrest. The views out the windows were obstructed by mud. At a stop sign at the state-highway intersection, Jeremy asked Chris to check for traffic. Chris stepped out onto the diesel tank and signaled to Jeremy. Jeremy proceeded into the intersection and collided with a van belonging to Lawrence and Arlene Jagneaux (the Jagneauxs) (plaintiffs). The Jagneauxs sued Jeremy’s father, Chris’s father, and their insurers (defendants). Chris’s father and his insurer moved for summary judgment, arguing that Chris was a guest passenger and did not breach any duty. The depositions of Chris, Jeremy, and Lawrence Jagneaux were submitted in support of the motion. Chris testified that he opened the door and looked to the left, told Jeremy it was clear on that side, and felt the tractor move forward. He got back into the cab and asked Jeremy what he was doing. Jeremy responded that Chris said it was clear, and Chris told him he had said it was clear on the left side. Jeremy testified at his deposition that he proceeded because he understood Chris to be telling him he could go, that he remembered Chris sitting on the diesel tank, and that he waited for Chris to get in and shut the door before he proceeded. Lawrence Jagneaux testified that a policeman said the passenger left the tractor and signaled the driver, who understood it to be an all-clear sign. The trial court granted summary judgment to Chris’s father and his insurer. On appeal, the Jagneauxs argued that Chris undertook a duty to exercise reasonable care when he checked for traffic.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Sullivan, J.)
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