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In a comparative negligence case, is a concurrent tortfeasor liable for the entire
damage caused by concurrent tortfeasors

Under New Mexico comparative negligence law, joint and several liability is not
applicable to force one concurrent tortfeasor to pay the entire amount of damages.

Three vehicles were driving in chain. The first car pulled into a service station, but
quickly pulled out and back into the road.
P slammed on her brakes to avoid hitting the first car. The truck behind P was
unable to avoid crashing into her.
The driver of the first car is unknown. New Mexico adopted a pure comparative
negligence system.
P brought suit against (defendant).

The jury determined that Bartlett’s damages were $100,000 and that D was
negligent to the extent of 30 percent of the damages and the unknown driver was
negligent to the extent of 70 percent of the damages.
P moved that D be liable for the entire $100,000.

The trial court denied the motion and then ordered a new trial due to faulty jury
The trial court granted D’s petition for an interlocutory appeal (APPEAL of a ruling
by a trial court that is made before all claims are resolved as to all parties.)



ISSUE: Was the trial court correct in determining that the forgiveness of a debt for
medical services is a collateral source to be sheltered by the rule? YES

RULE: The collateral source rule dictates that a court must exclude evidence of
payments received by an injured party form sources collateral to the wrongdoer,
such as private insurance or government benefits.
FACT: P was shopping in D’s store when she fell and injured herself.
She was sent to the hospital at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
(UAMS) where she received treatment. Subsequently, P came to an agreement with
UAMS whereby her medical bill was reduced by 50 percent.
P brought suit against D for negligence.
D filed a motion seeking to prevent P from introducing the pre-discount total of her
medical bills.
In effect, this motion was for the introduction of evidence of the discount.

The trial court denied the motion, holding that D could not introduce evidence that P
did not have to pay the full amount of her initial medical bill.
P appealed.


ISSUE: Is a P required to mitigate damages by submitting to the treatment of a

physician or having surgery?

RULE: In order to recover for permanent injuries, a plaintiff has a duty to mitigate
those damages by submitting to treatment that would cure the damages if a
reasonable person would do so under the same circumstances.

The plaintiff was in a car accident caused by the defendant.
As a result, the plaintiff suffered torn cartilage in her knee, which caused her not to
be able to perform her duties as substitute physical education teacher. The
defendant obtained expert testimony stating that if the plaintiff had the torn
cartilage “surgically excised,” she should completely recover.

Nonetheless, the jury awarded the plaintiff $7,500, including damages specifically
for permanent injuries.
The defendant appealed on the grounds that it was improper for the court to submit
to the jury the question of whether the plaintiff’s injury was permanent.

ISSUE: If a plaintiff’s conduct falls below the standard established by law for the
protection of self against an unreasonable risk of harm, can that plaintiff recover for
personal injuries caused by a resulting accident? NO

RULE: If a plaintiff’s conduct falls below the standard established by law for the
protection of self against an unreasonable risk of harm, that plaintiff is
contributorily negligent and cannot recover for personal injuries caused by a
resulting accident.

In the course of repairing his house, D placed a pole across a public road.

This created a partial obstruction of the road, but left some parts of the road

That evening, P left a public house and began riding his horse extremely hard down
the road. The obstruction caused by Forrester was visible from one hundred yards
away to a person exercising ordinary care.

However, P was riding so hard as to not be exercising ordinary care and did not see
the obstruction. He crashed into it, was thrown from his horse, and experienced
severe injuries.

P brought suit for damages against D.

At trial, the jury found P was not riding with ordinary care, and issued a verdict for
P appealed.

ISSUE: Should Tennessee adopt the doctrine of comparative negligence?

RULE: Tennessee adopts modified comparative negligence, allowing plaintiffs to

recover so long as their negligence does not exceed the negligence of the defendant.

FACT: P and D got into a car accident. P suffered severe injuries.

Both men had been drinking prior to the accident and evidence showed that D was
P brought a negligence suit and the jury determined that both men were equally at

Tennessee was a contributory negligence jurisdiction so that jury determination
resulted in a judgment for D.
The court of appeals affirmed. P appealed.



ISSUE: Whether an exculpatory clause found in a fitness club’s contract is

enforceable such that plaintiff expressly assumed the risk of the fitness club’s
negligent acts?

RULE: The ultimate determination of what constitutes the public interest must be
made considering the totality of the circumstances against the backdrop of current
societal expectations, including transactions that are so important to the public good
that an exculpatory clause would be “patently offensive” such that “the common
sense of the entire community would pronounce it” invalid.

P signed up for a membership at a gym owned by D.
As a part of her membership, P signed a contract stating that exercises undertaken
at the gym were at her risk and that D was not liable for any injuries.
As part of P’s initial workout, She injured her shoulder.
P brought a negligence suit against D, claiming that the exculpatory clause in the
contract is void as against public policy.
The lower court determined that the clause was enforceable.
P appealed.

ISSUE: Whether the landlord has an duty of care toward the maintenance of the
privy located on property under his care, or whether the pl assumed the risk in
using it?

RULE: The owner of property under his control is subject to liability for failure to
maintain and avoid a defective condition.

P rented her home from D. The home had a detached outhouse, which was the only
restroom available to the building’s tenants.
P testified that the outhouse floor was in bad condition.
One day when P went to use the outhouse, she fell through the floor and into the
waste below.
P brought suit against D.
P claimed that D breached its duty of care by negligently maintaining the outhouse
floor in a defective condition.
D filed for a nonsuit and a directed verdict.

The court denied the motions, and the jury returned a verdict for P. D appealed.