Ybarra v. Spangard
Supreme Court of California
154 P.2d 687 (Cal. 1944)
Ybarra (plaintiff) consulted Dr. Tilley (defendant) about stomach pains. Tilley diagnosed Ybarra with appendicitis and scheduled an appendectomy to be performed by Dr. Spangard (defendant), at a hospital owned by Dr. Swift (defendant). Before the operation, Ybarra was placed on the operating table by Dr. Reser (defendant), an anesthetist. Dr. Reser positioned Ybarra against two “hard objects” that supported his neck and shoulders, and administered anesthesia. After the operation, Ybarra woke up to severe pain in his neck and right shoulder. The pain increased after Ybarra left the hospital, resulting in paralysis and loss of function in his right arm. Ybarra was examined by two other doctors who stated the cause of his injury as being trauma from pressure or strain on his neck and right arm. Ybarra brought suit against all doctors involved under a theory of res ipsa loquitur, meaning an inference of negligence on the part of the doctors should arise from the fact of his injury. The doctors argued that where there are several defendants or instrumentalities involved in an injury-producing act, and the injury cannot actually be traced to any one defendant or instrumentality, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur does not apply. The trial court granted a judgment of nonsuit for the doctors, and Ybarra appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Gibson, C.J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 166,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.