Howell v. Boyle, No. 09-36153 - U.S. Ninth Circuit
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Howell v. Boyle, No. 09-36153

Action Regarding Police Cruiser Accident

In Howell v. Boyle, No. 09-36153, an action for injuries plaintiff sustained when defendant, a police officer, struck her with his police cruiser as she walked across a highway, the court certified the following questions to the Supreme Court of Oregon: 1) is plaintiff's negligence action constitutionally protected under the Oregon constitution's remedy clause, Or. Const. art. I, section 10, irrespective of the jury's finding of comparative negligence? To what extent, if any, do the common law defenses to contributory negligence of last clear chance, the emergency doctrine, and gross negligence effect this determination? 2) If plaintiff's action is protected, is $200,000 an unconstitutional emasculated remedy despite the jury's finding of comparative negligence? To what extent, if any, do the common law defenses to contributory negligence of last clear chance, the emergency doctrine, and gross negligence effect this determination?

 

As the court wrote:  "Plaintiff Jean Howell filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon against Defendants Christopher Boyle and his employer, the City of Beaverton, Oregon (the City). Howell sought damages for injuries she sustained when Boyle, a police officer for the City, struck her with his police cruiser as she walked across a highway. At trial, the jury found that Howell and Boyle were each negligent and 50 percent responsible for the accident."

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