Steilen v. Cabela’s Wholesale, Inc.Annotate this Case
At issue in this negligence case was whether the circuit court committed reversible error when it did not instruct the jury on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
Plaintiff was at a Cabela’s store when she brushed a heavy drop-down steel receiver hitch, which fell and injured Plaintiff. Plaintiff sued Cabela’s for negligence. During the settling of jury instructions, Plaintiff requested two pattern jury instructions on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, arguing that the instructions were appropriate because the only evidence of negligence was the fact that the hitch, which was under Cabela’s control, fell. The circuit court concluded that the instructions were not warranted by the evidence presented at trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not commit reversible error when it refused Plaintiff’s requested instructions because Plaintiff’s evidence left room for different presumptions or inferences negating the applicability of the doctrine.