The opinion of the Supreme Court of Washington in Morris v. Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad Company represents the most recent effort of the Washington court to bring order out of previously existing confusion in reference to the effect of the "presumption of due care" in the trial of wrongful death actions. The deceased was killed in a grade crossing collision between his truck and defendant's train. On the basis of disinterested testimony, the court first determined that, the presumption aside, the deceased was guilty of contributory negligence as a matter of law in failing to exercise reasonable care for his own safety as he approached and drove onto the crossing. There remained the question whether, particularly in view of the prior decision in Karp v. Herder, the presumption operated in these circumstances so as to require the submission of the cause to the jury. The court concluded that the presumption must yield to the disinterested testimony and the cause was ordered dismissed.
Judson F. Falknor,
Notes on Presumptions,
15 Wash. L. Rev. & St. B.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol15/iss2/2