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O'Dea v. Amodeo
Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors
170 A. 486 (1934)
John O’Dea (plaintiff) was in a car accident with Joseph Amodeo (Joseph) (defendant). O’Dea sued Joseph and Joseph’s father, Charles Amodeo (Charles) (defendant), claiming that the car Joseph was driving was a family car owned by Charles. Other than the fact of Joseph driving the car, O’Dea presented no evidence to support this claim. Charles and Joseph testified that Charles did not own the car for family use and that Joseph did not have permission to drive the car. A Connecticut statute established a presumption that if a car owner’s immediate family member was driving the car, the car was presumed to be a family car maintained for use by all family members. The statute stated that the defendant in a civil suit had the burden of rebutting the presumption. The jury returned a verdict in favor of O’Dea against Joseph and Charles. The trial court set aside the verdict as to Charles on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the car was a family car owned by Charles. The court stated that because O’Dea produced no evidence, O’Dea would not be entitled to recover even if the jury did not find Charles and Joseph’s testimony credible. O’Dea appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Maltbie, C.J.)
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