Anna Tedla and her brother (plaintiffs) were walking along a highway after dark. They were walking along the right-hand side of the road. The traffic along the right-hand side of the road was very light that evening. The traffic along the left-hand side of the road was heavy. A state statute provided that pedestrians walking along the highway must walk along the left-hand side of the road so that vehicles would pass them on their right. Hellman (defendant) struck Tedla and her brother while driving a vehicle owned by Ellman (defendant). Tedla was injured, and her brother was killed. Tedla brought suit on her and her brother’s behalf. The defendants asserted that Tedla and her brother were in violation of the state statute, which constituted contributory negligence. The case was tried on the merits. The trial court submitted to the jury whether a violation of the statute proximately caused the accident. The jury found that the sole cause of the accident was Ellman's negligence. The appellate division affirmed the trial court's judgment, and the defendants appealed to the New York Court of Appeals.