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Neu v. Grant

548 F.2d 281 (1977)

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Neu v. Grant

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

548 F.2d 281 (1977)

Facts

Nina Neu (plaintiff) was riding in a vehicle driven by Lorna Grant (Lorna) (defendant) when Lorna began racing against her husband Frank Grant (Frank) (defendant), who was driving another vehicle. Lorna crashed and Neu was injured. Neu sued Lorna and Frank for her injuries. Wyoming, where the accident occurred, had a guest statute that protected a host-operator from being held liable to a guest-passenger unless the host-operator were shown to be grossly negligent. After a pretrial conference, Neu sought to strike the portion of the Grants’ answer to her complaint in which they raised the Wyoming guest statute as a defense. Neu’s motion to strike asserted that the guest statute contravened the constitutions of both Wyoming and the United States. The court denied Neu’s motion; she did not object to that denial. At trial, the court’s charge to the jury included an instruction on the applicability of the Wyoming guest statute; Neu did not object to the instruction. After the jury reached a verdict in favor of the Grants, the court asked whether the parties desired to make any motions. Neu’s counsel responded in the negative. Neu then appealed the judgment on the ground that the Wyoming guest statute was unconstitutional under state and federal law.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Barrett, J.)

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