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White v. Lunder

Wisconsin Supreme Court
225 N.W.2d 442 (1975)


Facts

Rosemary White was injured while boating with her husband, Lloyd White (plaintiff), and James Lunder (defendant). Rosemary sued Lunder to recover for her injuries. Lloyd sued Lunder to recover for loss of consortium and medical expenses. The jury determined that Rosemary was 30 percent causally negligent, Lloyd 33 percent, and Lunder 37 percent. Under Wisconsin’s comparative-negligence statute, a plaintiff is not barred from recovery by his or her own contributory negligence if the plaintiff’s negligence is not as great as the defendant’s negligence. The statute also provides that a plaintiff’s damages should be reduced proportionately by his or her own negligence. The trial judge attributed 63 percent of the boating accident’s causal negligence to Lloyd, charging Lloyd with the combined total of his own and his wife’s negligence. Because Lunder’s causal negligence was only 37 percent, the trial court found that Lloyd was contributorily negligent and consequently barred from recovering against Lunder. Lloyd appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Beilfuss, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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