Keywords: reasonable person, negligence, law, case briefs
Lussan v. Grain Dealers Mutual Insurance Company, 280 F.2d 491 (5th Cir. 1960).
Facts: D was driving when one of the two passengers discovered a bee inside the car. D looked down and tried to swat the bee, and accidentally lurched the car into a vehicle on the curb. Lussan (P) was injured and brought suit. The jury found in favor of D and Lussan appealed the court’s denial of motions for instructed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict.
Issue: In determining negligence, can the actions of a reasonable person under the same or reasonable circumstances include instinctive and natural responses?
Holding and Rule: Yes. The legal standard to be met in order to find negligence is that no reasonable man could infer that the prudent man would have acted this way. This case involves a common occurrence – the involuntary reflex responses by which nature protects life from harm or apprehended harm. The standard of performance in the law is not what had to be done to avoid damage, but that which prudent human beings would have done or not done. The jury in these circumstances concluded that this was normal and prudent human conduct.
Notes: The jury determines whether the defendant’s conduct was reasonable under the circumstances.
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