Supreme Court of Michigan, 1976.
396 Mich. 281, 240 N.W.2d 217.
Siegrist and Farwell were chasing women. A group of guys beat up Farwell and left him under his car. Siegrist found him. Siegrist drove Farwell around for 2 hours in the back seat. When Siegrist parked the car, he tried to rouse Farwell and couldn’t. Siegrist left Farwell to be found by his grandparents in the morning. Farwell died of injuries. Jury returned verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $15,000. The Court of Appeals reversed, saying 1) Siegrist had no duty to Farwell and 2) Siegrist didn’t know Farwell needed treatment.
1) Did Siegrist have a duty to Farwell?
2) Did Siegrist know, or should he have known, that Farwell needed treatment?
The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and reinstated the verdict.
Duty is usually a question of law, but certain factual circumstances give rise to duty. “[I]f the defendant does attempt to aid him, and takes charge and control of the situation, he is regarded as entering voluntarily into a relation which is attended with responsibililty. Such a defendant will then be liable for a failure to use reasonable care for the protection of the plaintiff’s interests.”  “Where performance clearly has begun, there is no doubt that there is a duty of care.” The court also held that Farwell and Siegrist were companions on a social venture, and on such outings, there is an implied duty to render assistance when one is in peril. If Siegrist could aid Farwell without injury to himself, he had a duty to assist.
· Appeal only applies to his buddy, not the guys who beat him up
· If Siegrist had intervened to get Farwell help – Farwell had a good chance of recovery
· Siegrist’s appeal was that he had no duty to help
· Facts change question of duty from matter of law to something else
· Ice on head—shows an attempt to start giving aid
· Were co-adventurers on a social outing—special relationship
· Special relationship
· Friendship is enough to establish duty?
· General duty –a duty is found where general reasonable men would recognize it and agree it exists
· Companions on a social venture—common act that led to the troublàchasing women to the restraunt led to the beating
· Once somebody begins to give aid, how far must he go?
· Comment E of the Restatement
· P.129 – example of rescuing swimmer and leaving him closer to shore, but he still drowns
· If you begin aid, others give up because they believe it’s being taken care of
· By not leaving him under the car, and instead, leaving him in the backseat of his own car in his grandparent’s driveway, he made sure no one would find him until morning
· Ice became an important fact—Siegrist knew there was some kind of injury
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