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Tennessee Trailways, Inc. v. Ervin

438 S.W.2d 733 (1969)

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Tennessee Trailways, Inc. v. Ervin

Tennessee Supreme Court

438 S.W.2d 733 (1969)

Facts

One day, a bus owned by Tennessee Trailways, Inc. (the bus company) (defendant) was traveling on a highway in a 65-mile-per-hour speed zone. William Ervin was riding a motorcycle down a private road that intersected the highway. William drove across the highway, and he was hit and killed by the bus. The administrator of William’s estate, Jack Ervin (plaintiff), brought suit against the bus company for the wrongful death of William. Jack brought both a claim of common-law negligence and a claim of negligence per se, arguing that the bus driver’s speed was above the speed limit, in violation of state law. At trial, an expert opined that the bus was going approximately 73.5 miles per hour; however, the passengers of the bus testified that the bus was traveling slower than 65 miles per hour. Bus passengers also testified that William suddenly cut in front of the bus when entering the highway, and no contradicting evidence was presented by his estate. Thus, it was undisputed that when William drove his motorcycle onto the highway, he rode it abruptly in front of the bus. After all evidence was presented, the bus company moved for a directed verdict. The trial court sustained the motion, directing the jury to find for the bus company. The appellate court found that the testimony of the expert witness highlighted a dispute as to the speed of the bus. The appellate court ruled that because of such dispute, a directed verdict was inappropriate, and the court reversed the decision of the trial court. The bus company appealed the appellate court’s decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Creson, J.)

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