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Stewart v. Motts

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
654 A.2d 535 (Pa. 1995)



Stewart (plaintiff) entered the automobile repair shop of Motts (defendant) and offered to help with a fuel tank repair. Motts obliged and Stewart decided to pour gasoline into the carburetor of the automobile. Motts was supposed to start the car at a certain point, but the car backfired and caused an explosion. Stewart endured severe burns to his body, and brought a negligence claim against Motts. The Superior Court charged the jury to find Motts negligent only if he failed to exercise the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances. The jury found for Motts, and Stewart appealed, claiming that the Superior Court should have instructed the jury to find Motts negligent if he failed to exercise a “high degree of care” in the handling of gasoline, a dangerous instrumentality.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Montemuro, J.)

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