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Civil Procedure Keyed to Babcock
Pierce v. Cook & Co.
Citation:518 F.2d 720 (10th Cir. 1975)
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- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
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- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
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- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
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- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
Ted Pierce was killed and two passengers, Davis and Ellenwood, were injured when a tractor hit them. Decedent’s wife, Claudiatte Pierce, Davis, and Ellenwood filed suit in Oklahoma state court against defendant Cook & Co. who was the employer of the trucker working as an independent contractor and was driving the tractor at the time of the accident. Cook removed the case to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction. Davis dismissed his suit and his guardians refiled in Oklahoma state court to destroy diversity. Defendant Cook filed a motion for summary judgement which the court granted for the two remaining Plaintiffs Pierce and Ellenwood. The court’s decision was based on Marion Machine, Foundry & Supply Co. v. Duncan, which held that shippers were not liable for the torts committed by independent contractors. Plaintiffs appealed arguing that the federal Motor Carrier Act applied which would have allowed for Defendant Cook to be liable. The court appeals affirmed summary judgement, finding that state law applied. Final judgement was filed in 1971. Plaintiff Davis lost in state court at trial, but the court of appeals on appeal overturned Marion and found that shippers could be liable for the torts of their independent contractors. The state appeals court remanded Davis’s case and it settled in favor of Davis in 1974. Pierce and Ellenwood thereafter filed a FRCP 60(b) motion to be relieved of the federal court’s judgement.
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