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II Multiparty Automobile Collision

Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil

Ark. Model Jury Instr., Civil II
Arkansas Model Jury Instructions-Civil
November 2021 Update
Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil
Chapter 36. Illustrative Sets of Instructions
II Multiparty Automobile Collision
STATEMENT OF FACTS
William Fairchild boarded a Reliable Taxi Company cab and instructed James Cranston, the driver, to transport him to an address several miles outside the city limits. Cranston started his cab and drove toward the destination. Fairchild immediately began talking so loudly that Cranston had difficulty concentrating on his driving. At a point on the highway still some distance from the destination, Cranston started to pass an automobile driven by John Armstrong that was proceeding in the same direction. In so doing Cranston accelerated to 60 miles per hour and sounded his horn. As the taxi was passing Armstrong, he suddenly started a turn to the left to leave the highway on an intersecting street. The vehicles collided and the occupants of both vehicles sustained minor injuries. At the police station Armstrong failed a breathalizer and admitted to having had two beers shortly before the collision.
Fairchild sued Cranston, Reliable Taxi Company, and Armstrong. Armstrong filed a cross-complaint against Cranston and Reliable. Cranston and Reliable filed a counterclaim against Armstrong.
A suggested set of instructions in recommended sequence:
(AMI
number)
1.103.Respective Duties of Judge and Jury—Cautionary Instructions.
2.104.Jury—Personal Observations and Experiences.
3.105.Credibility of Witnesses.
4.108.Circumstantial Evidence.
5.201.Issues—Case Submitted on Interrogatories.
6.202.Meaning of Burden of Proof and Preponderance of the Evidence.
7.205.Issues—Multiple Claims—Varying Standards of Care—Burden of Proof.
8.206.Issues—Affirmative Defenses—Burden of Proof.
9.302.Negligence—Definition.
10.303.Ordinary Care—Definition.
11.305.Duty to Use Ordinary Care.
12.501.Proximate Cause—Concurring Proximate Cause—Definition.
13.602.Right to Assume Others Will Use Ordinary Care and Obey the Law.
14.603.No Presumption of Negligence from Happening of Injury.
15.606.Intoxication—Definition.
16.607.Intoxication as Negligence.
17.901.Common Law Rules of Road—Lookout—Control—Speed.
18.902.Superior Right of Forward Vehicle.
19.912.Passenger—Duty to Use Ordinary Care.
20.1701.Duty of Common Carrier to Passenger.
21.208.Issues—Imputed Conduct—Relationship Admitted.
22.2201.Measure of Damages—General Instruction (and Appropriate Selections from AMI 2201 et seq.)
23.2222.Measure of Damages—Damage to Property—General Instruction
24.2221.Fair Market Value—Definition.
25.3501.Closing Instructions.
Text of Suggested Instructions
1. (AMI 103)
(a) The faithful performance of your duties as jurors is essential to the administration of justice.
(b) It is my duty as judge to inform you of the law applicable to this case by instructions, and it is your duty to accept and follow them as a whole, not singling out one instruction to the exclusion of others. You should not consider any rule of law with which you may be familiar unless it is included in my instructions.
(c) It is your duty to determine the facts from the evidence produced in this trial. You are to apply the law as contained in these instructions to the facts and render your verdict upon the evidence and law. You should not permit sympathy, prejudice, or like or dislike of any party to this action or of any attorney to influence your findings in this case.
(d) In deciding the issues, you should consider the testimony of the witnesses and the exhibits received in evidence. The introduction of evidence in court is governed by law. You should accept without question my rulings as to the admissibility or rejection of evidence, drawing no inferences that by these rulings I have in any manner indicated my views on the merits of the case.
(e) Opening statements, remarks during the trial, and closing arguments of the attorneys are not evidence but are made only to help you in understanding the evidence and applicable law. Any argument, statements, or remarks of attorneys having no basis in the evidence should be disregarded by you. However, an admission of fact by an attorney is binding on his or her client.
(f) I have not intended by anything I have said or done, or by any questions that I may have asked, to intimate or suggest what you should find to be the facts, or that I believe or disbelieve any witness who testified. If anything that I have done or said has seemed to so indicate, you will disregard it.
2. (AMI 104)
In considering the evidence in this case you are not required to set aside your common knowledge, but you have a right to consider all the evidence in the light of your own observations and experiences in the affairs of life.
3. (AMI 105)
You are the sole judges of the weight of the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses. In determining the credibility of any witness and the weight to be given his testimony, you may take into consideration his demeanor while on the witness stand, any prejudice for or against a party, his means of acquiring knowledge concerning any matter to which he testified, any interest he may have in the outcome of the case, and the consistency or inconsistency of his testimony, as well as its reasonableness or unreasonableness.
4. (AMI 108)
A fact in dispute may be proved by circumstantial evidence as well as by direct evidence. A fact is established by direct evidence when, for example, it is proved by witnesses who testify to what they saw, heard, or experienced. A fact is established by circumstantial evidence when its existence can reasonably be inferred from other facts proved in the case.
5. (AMI 201)
After I have completed my instructions to you on the law in this case, you will be given a number of written questions called interrogatories. These interrogatories present the issues of fact that you must decide. In order that you may be fully acquainted with the issues of fact, which are being submitted in this case for your determination, I will now read these interrogatories, some or all of which you may be called upon to answer. You should keep these in mind as I explain the law applicable to this case.
1. Do you find from a preponderance of the evidence that there was a failure on the part of James Cranston to use the highest degree of care which was a proximate cause of any damages sustained by William Fairchild?
ANSWER:
 
(Yes or No)
2. Do you find from a preponderance of the evidence that there was negligence on the part of James Cranston which was a proximate cause of any damages sustained by John Armstrong?
ANSWER:
 
(Yes or No)
3. Do you find from a preponderance of the evidence that there was negligence on the part of John Armstrong which was a proximate cause of any damages sustained by William Fairchild, James Cranston, or Reliable Taxi?
ANSWER:
 
(Yes or No)
4. Use this interrogatory only if you have answered “Yes” to one or more of Interrogatories 1 through 3:
Do you find from a preponderance of the evidence that there was negligence on the part of William Fairchild which was a proximate cause of any damages he may have sustained?
ANSWER:
 
(Yes or No)
If you have answered more than one of Interrogatories 1 though 4 “Yes,” then answer this Interrogatory:
5. Using 100% to represent the total responsibility for the occurrence and any injuries or damages resulting from it, apportion the responsibility between the parties whom you have found to be responsible.
6. State the amount of any damages which you find from a preponderance of the evidence were sustained by William Fairchild as a result of the occurrence.
7. State the amount of any damages which you find from a preponderance of the evidence were sustained by James Cranston as a result of the occurrence.
8. State the amount of any damages which you find from a preponderance of the evidence were sustained by Reliable Taxi Company as a result of the occurrence.
9. State the amount of any damages which you find from a preponderance of the evidence were sustained by John Armstrong as a result of the occurrence.
6. (AMI 202)
A party who has the burden of proof on a proposition must establish it by a preponderance of the evidence, unless the proposition is so established by other proof in the case. “Preponderance of the evidence” means the greater weight of evidence. The greater weight of evidence is not necessarily established by the greater number of witnesses testifying to any fact or state of facts. It is the evidence which, when weighed with that opposed to it, has more convincing force and is more probably true and accurate. If, upon any issue in the case, the evidence appears to be equally balanced, or if you cannot say upon which side it weighs heavier, you must resolve that question against the party who has the burden of proving it.
7. (AMI 205)
William Fairchild claims damages from James Cranston and Reliable Taxi Company and has the burden of proving each of three essential propositions:
  • First, that he has sustained damages;
  • Second, that Mr. Cranston failed to use the highest degree of care;
  • And third, that such failure was a proximate cause of the damages of Mr. Fairchild.
William Fairchild also claims damages from John Armstrong and has the burden of proving each of three essential propositions:
  • First, that he has sustained damages;
  • Second, that Mr. Armstrong was negligent;
  • And third, that such negligence was a proximate cause of the damages of Mr. Fairchild.
John Armstrong also claims damages from James Cranston and Reliable Taxi Company and has the burden of proving each of three essential propositions:
  • First, that he has sustained damages;
  • Second, that Mr. Cranston was negligent;
  • And third, that such negligence was a proximate cause of the damages of Mr. Armstrong.
James Cranston and Reliable Taxi Company also claim damages from John Armstrong and have the burden of proving each of three essential propositions:
  • First, that they have sustained damages;
  • Second, that Mr. Armstrong was negligent;
  • And third, that such negligence was a proximate cause of the damages of Mr. Cranston and Reliable Taxi Company.
8. (AMI 206) (Modified)
Mr. Cranston, Reliable Taxi Company, and Mr. Armstrong contend that William Fairchild acted with negligence which was a proximate cause of his own damages.
Mr. Cranston and Reliable Taxi Company contend that John Armstrong acted with negligence which was a proximate cause of his own damages.
Mr. Armstrong contends that James Cranston acted with negligence which was a proximate cause of his own damages and those of Reliable Taxi Company.
A party who contends that another is chargeable with negligence which was a proximate cause of his or its own damages has the burden of proving this contention.
9. (AMI 302)
When I use the word “negligence” in these instructions I mean the failure to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the doing of something which a reasonably careful person would not do, under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence in this case.
10. (AMI 303)
A failure to exercise ordinary care is negligence. When I use the words “ordinary care,” I mean the care a reasonably careful person would use under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence in this case. It is for you to decide how a reasonably careful person would act under those circumstances.
11. (AMI 305)
It was the duty of all persons involved in the occurrence to use ordinary care for their own safety and the safety of others and their property.
12. (AMI 501)
The law frequently uses the expression “proximate cause,” with which you may not be familiar. When I use the expression “proximate cause,” I mean a cause which, in a natural and continuous sequence, produces damage and without which damage would not have occurred.
This does not mean that the law recognizes only one proximate cause of damage. To the contrary, if two or more causes work together to produce damage, then you may find that each of them was a proximate cause.
13. (AMI 602)
Every person using ordinary care has a right to assume, until the contrary is or reasonably should be apparent, that every other person will use ordinary care and obey the law. To act on that assumption is not negligence.
14. (AMI 603)
The fact that a collision occurred is not, of itself, evidence of negligence on the part of anyone.
15. (AMI 606)
A person is intoxicated when, as a result of drinking an alcoholic beverage, he has lost the normal control of his physical or mental faculties.
16. (AMI 607)
Whether a person involved in the occurrence was intoxicated at the time is a proper question for you to consider together with other facts and circumstances in evidence in determining whether he was negligent. Intoxication is no excuse for failure to act as a reasonably careful person would act. An intoxicated person is held to the same standard of care as a sober person.
17. (AMI 901)
In determining whether the driver of a motor vehicle was negligent, you may consider the following three rules of the road:
First: It is the duty of the driver of a motor vehicle to keep a lookout for other vehicles or persons on the street or highway. The lookout required is that which a reasonably careful driver would keep under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence in this case.
Second: It is the duty of the driver of a motor vehicle to keep his vehicle under control. The control required is that which a reasonably careful driver would maintain under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence in this case.
Third: It is the duty of the driver of a motor vehicle to drive at a speed no greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, having due regard for any actual or potential hazards.
A failure to meet the standard of conduct required by any of these three rules is negligence.
18. (AMI 902)
When two vehicles are traveling in the same direction, the vehicle in front has the superior right to the use of the highway for the purpose of leaving it to enter an intersecting road, and the driver behind must use ordinary care to operate his vehicle in recognition of this superior right. This does not relieve the driver of the forward vehicle of the duty to use ordinary care and to obey the rules of the road.
19. (AMI 912)
A passenger in an automobile is required to use ordinary care for his own safety.
20. (AMI 1701)
At the time of the occurrence in question, Reliable Taxi Company was a common carrier. A common carrier is not an insurer of its passengers' safety, but it has a duty to its passengers to use the highest degree of care consistent with the type of conveyance used and the practical operation of its business.
21. (AMI 208)
At the time of the occurrence Reliable Taxi and James Cranston were employer and employee. Therefore, any failure to use the highest degree of care or negligence on the part of Mr. Cranston is charged to his employer Reliable Taxi with respect to the claims of William Fairchild and John Armstrong.
22. (AMI 2201)
If an interrogatory requires you to assess the damages of William Fairchild, you must then fix the amount of money which will reasonably and fairly compensate him for any of the following three elements of damage sustained:
(a) (AMI 2202) First: The nature, extent, and duration of any injury.
(b) (AMI 2204) Second: The reasonable expense of any necessary medical care, treatment, and services received.
(c) (AMI 2205) Third: Any pain and suffering experienced in the past.
(End of AMI 2201) Whether any of these three elements of damage has been proved by the evidence is for you to determine.
If an interrogatory requires you to assess the damages of James Cranston, you must then fix the amount of money which will reasonably and fairly compensate him for any of the following three elements of damage sustained:
(a) (AMI 2202) First: The nature, extent, and duration of any injury.
(b) (AMI 2204) Second: The reasonable expense of any necessary medical care, treatment, and services received.
(c) (AMI 2205) Third: Any pain and suffering experienced in the past.
(End of AMI 2201) Whether any of these three elements of damage has been proved by the evidence is for you to determine.
If an interrogatory requires you to assess the damages of John Armstrong, you must then fix the amount of money which will reasonably and fairly compensate him for any of the following three elements of damage sustained:
(a) (AMI 2202) First: The nature, extent, and duration of any injury.
(b) (AMI 2204) Second: The reasonable expense of any necessary medical care, treatment, and services received.
(c) (AMI 2205) Third: Any pain and suffering experienced in the past.
(d) (AMI 2210) Fourth: The difference in the fair market value of his automobile immediately before and immediately after the occurrence plus a reasonable amount for loss of use. In determining any difference in market value, you may take into consideration the reasonable cost of repairs.
(End of AMI 2201) Whether any of these four elements of damage has been proved by the evidence is for you to determine.
23. (AMI 2222)
If an interrogatory requires you to assess the damage to the property of Reliable Taxi Company, you must then fix the amount of money which will reasonably and fairly compensate it for the element of damage it sustained:
(AMI 2227) The difference in the fair market value of its taxicab immediately before and immediately after the occurrence. In determining this difference, you may take into consideration the reasonable cost of repairs.
(End of AMI 2222) Whether this element of damage has been proved by the evidence is for you to determine.
24. (AMI 2221)
When I use the expression “fair market value,” I mean the price that an automobile would bring on the open market in a sale between a seller who is willing to sell and a buyer who is willing and able to buy after a reasonable opportunity for negotiations.
25. (AMI 3501)
You have now heard all the evidence and the instructions on the law you must apply in reaching your verdict. You soon will hear the lawyers’' closing arguments and then go to the jury room to decide this case. I have a few final instructions for you on how to proceed.
(a) Remember that you are to decide this case fairly, based only on the evidence presented in this courtroom and the law as instructed by me. Do not consider information from any other source. And do not allow sympathy, prejudice, or like or dislike of any party or any attorney in this case to influence your decision
Keep in mind that the Basic Rule I have explained to you throughout the trial continues to apply during your deliberations: You are to discuss the case only among yourselves. Do not communicate about this case and the places and persons involved by any means whatsoever with anyone else at all, or look for or receive any information whatsoever about this case—including through Electronic Devices—other than the evidence in this courtroom and the law as I have instructed you, until your jury duty is complete and I have discharged you.
(b) Any notes you may have taken during the trial may be taken to the jury room to use during your deliberations. Your notes are simply an aid to your own memory, and neither your notes nor those of any other juror are a substitute for your own memory or other jurors’' memory. Leave your notes in the jury room when you have concluded your deliberations.
(c) Do not begin deliberations until all of you are assembled in the jury room. Once you are all there, the first thing for you to do is to elect one of you to act as foreperson during your deliberations. The foreperson should see to it that your discussions are orderly and that every one of you has a fair opportunity to be heard.
(d) If any of you needs to communicate with me for any reason, write me a note and give it to (the bailiff) (court personnel). In your note do not disclose any vote or division among yourselves.
I will now give you a verdict form with questions you must answer. Consider your answer to each of these questions as a separate verdict.
Nine or more of you must agree on the answer to any question for that answer to be your verdict. It is not necessary that the same nine or more of you agree on each verdict. Each question is separate.
If your answer to any question is unanimous, only the foreperson will sign the verdict form for that question. If your answer is not unanimous, but nine or more of you agree on that answer, each of you who agrees must sign the answer. Those who do not agree must not sign.
INTERROGATORIES (Illustrative Set)
(Insert signature lines after each interrogatory)
VERDICT FORM
1. Do you find from a preponderance of the evidence that there was a failure on the part of James Cranston to use the highest degree of care which was a proximate cause of any damages sustained by William Fairchild?
ANSWER:
 
(Yes or No)
2. Do you find from a preponderance of the evidence that there was negligence on the part of James Cranston which was a proximate cause of any damages sustained by John Armstrong?
ANSWER:
 
(Yes or No)
3. Do you find from a preponderance of the evidence that there was negligence on the part of John Armstrong which was a proximate cause of any damages sustained by William Fairchild, James Cranston, or Reliable Taxi?
ANSWER:
 
(Yes or No)
4. Answer this interrogatory only if you have answered “Yes” to one or more of Interrogatories 1 through 3:
Do you find from a preponderance of the evidence that there was negligence on the part of William Fairchild which was a proximate cause of any damages he may have sustained?
ANSWER:
 
(Yes or No)
5. If you have answered more than one of Interrogatories 1 through 4 “Yes,” then answer this Interrogatory:
Using 100% to represent the total responsibility for the occurrence and any injuries or damages resulting from it, apportion the responsibility between the parties whom you have found to be responsible.
[To assign a percentage of fault to James Cranston, you must have answered yes to either Questions 1 or 2; otherwise his percentage of fault is zero. To assign a percentage of fault to John Armstrong, you must have answered yes to Question 3; otherwise, his percentage of fault is zero. To assign a percentage of fault to William Fairchild, you must have answered yes to Question 4; otherwise his percentage of fault is zero.]
ANSWER:
 
%
James Cranston
 
%
John Armstrong
 
%*
William Fairchild
Total100%
6. State the amount of any damages which you find from a preponderance of the evidence were sustained by William Fairchild as a result of the occurrence.
ANSWER: $ .**
7. State the amount of any damages which you find from a preponderance of the evidence were sustained by James Cranston as a result of the occurrence.
ANSWER: $ .
8. State the amount of any damages which you find from a preponderance of the evidence were sustained by Reliable Taxi Company as a result of the occurrence.
ANSWER: $ .
9. State the amount of any damages which you find from a preponderance of the evidence were sustained by John Armstrong as a result of the occurrence.
ANSWER: $ .

Footnotes

*
The trial court may want to submit only Interrogatories 1 through 4 initially in order to determine whether Interrogatory 5 need be submitted at all. If this procedure is followed, the introductory sentence to Interrogatory 5 should be omitted.
**
The trial court may want the jury to answer fully only Interrogatories 1 through 4 or 1 through 5 as preferred, since these answers will be determinative.
End of Document