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Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2013

Marco Smalich, Executor of the Estate of Julia Smalich, Deceased, Michael Smalich, a Minor, By Marco Smalich, His Guardian and Marco Smalich, Appellants, v. Felix Rush Westfall and Stephanna Louise Blank.

Headnote

Two automobiles collided. In one car was plaintiff, her son, and Westfall. Plaintiff owned the vehicle, but Westfall was driving. Blank was driving the other car. Westfall’s negligent driving was found to be a proximate cause of the collision. Will Westfall’s contributory negligence prevent plaintiff from recovering against Blank? To answer this question, the court made a predicate inquiry: whether plaintiff and Westfall had a relationship which made plaintiff vicariously liable for Westfall’s driving. This case illustrates the doctrine of imputed contributory negligence.