Marshall v. Nugent
222 F.2d 604 (1st Cir. 1955)

  • Marshall was riding in Harriman’s car on an icy road. Harriman saw a truck driven by Prince coming towards him and swerved, losing control of the car and ending up in a ditch. Prince stopped his truck in the middle of the road and got out to help. The three of them worked to get the car out of the ditch.
  • Nugent came along, saw the truck blocking the road, swerved, lost control on the ice and ran into Marshall, who was injured.
  • Marshall sued Nugent and Prince’s employer, Socony.
  • The Trial Court found for Marshall and against Nugent and Socony. Socony appealed.
    • Socony argued that Prince was not the proximate cause of the accident. At the time Marshall was injured, Prince’s truck was stuck in a ditch, how could he have been responsible?
  • The Appellate Court affirmed.
    • The Appellate Court found that all the events, from the original Harriman swerve to Marshall getting run over by Nugent, were all part of the same general event.
    • The Court found that since Marshall would not have been on the side of an dangerous icy road if it wasn’t for Prince’s poor driving, Prince (and therefore Socony) was a proximate cause of Marshall’s injuries.
      • aka Prince’s actions put Marshal in a place of increased danger.
  • This case can be distinguished from Ventricelli v. Kinney System Rent a Car, Inc. (383 N.E.2d 1149 (1978)) because in that case Kinney put Ventricelli in the wrong place at the wrong time, but didn’t put Ventricelli in a position of increased danger. In this case, Prince’s action put Marshall in a place of increased danger.
    • Ventricelli was parked in a legal parking place, Marshall was flagging down cars on an icy highway.