Yellow Cab Co. of D.C. v. Dreslin
USCOA DC - 1950
- D's taxicab collided with car driven by Dreslin. His wife and other passengers were injured.
- They sued D for damages; Dreslin joined with them, claiming loss of consortium, medical expenses for Mrs. Dreslin, and damages to his car.
- Jury found that the collision was caused by the concurrent negligent operation of both cars. Judgments were entered for all Ps except Dreslin.
- Jury also allowed D to get contribution from Dreslin. Court overruled this decision stating that Dreslin was not liable in tort to his wife.
- Trial court found contribution not valid.
- CD USCOA affirmed, contribution not valid.
- May a non-immune tortfeasor seek contribution or indemnity from those who are immune (as in husband and wife)?
- A non-immune tortfeasor may not seek contribution or indemnity from those who are immune.
- Neither husband nor wife is liable for the tortious acts by one against the other.
- Contribution, then, depends upon joint liability. There was no liability by Dreslin to his wife, so there is nothing to which a right of contribution could attach.
- Even though Mrs. Dreslin might be enriched at the sole expense of D, preservation of domestic peace demands such a ruling.