Rattary v. FavroAnnotate this Case
Firefighters sued Favro, who crashed his car into a firetruck before receiving aid from the firefighters, alleging that Favro was negligent in failing to comply with their directions and thereby caused them to be harmed by another crashing vehicle.
The Firefighter’s Rule negates liability "by one whose negligence causes or contributes to the fire which in turn causes the death or injury of the [firefighter].” with exceptions. Civil Code 1714.9(a)(1) provides: “any person is responsible not only for the results of that person’s willful acts causing injury to a" firefighter "also for any injury occasioned to [the firefighter] by the want of ordinary care or skill in the management of the person’s property or person," "Where the conduct causing the injury occurs after the person knows or should have known of the presence of the" firefighter. The court instructed the jury on: “Assumption of Risk/Exception/Occupation Involving Inherent Risk” The Special Verdict Form asked: Did Favro increase the risks to [the firefighers] through conduct occurring after he knew or should have known of the presence of the firefighters?” The presiding juror marked, “No.”
The court of appeal ordered a new trial. Favro’s counsel committed misconduct by misrepresenting to the jury the law applicable to these unusual circumstances, stating that Favro could not be held liable unless he had increased the risk to the firefighters “beyond the risk that’s inherent to their job.”. A subsequent admonition failed to cure the error.