Siruta v. SirutaAnnotate this Case
A seven-year-old child was killed in a one-car rollover crash. The child’s parents had periodically traded driving duties during the trip, and Mother was driving when the accident occurred. Father brought a wrongful death action against Mother, alleging that Mother’s negligence was the proximate cause of the child’s death. The jury found both parties fifty percent at fault, which resulted in a judgment in favor of Mother. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) this action was not barred because Mother was both a potential tortfeasor and heir at law; (2) the district court did not err in denying Mother’s motion for summary judgment and her motion for judgment as a matter of law; and (3) the district court erred in instructing the jury on comparative fault, and the error was not harmless.