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Stephens v. City of Seattle

(1991) A motorcyclist who struck a negligently designed curb sued the City of Seattle for injuries sustained. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the city, finding no proximate cause as a matter of law based upon the facts that the motorcyclist had been drinking and speeding on his motorcycle before he struck the curb. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that a difference of only five miles per hour between the lower estimate by an eyewitness that the motorcyclist was traveling 50 miles per hour, and a human factors traffic expert’s assumption of 45 miles per hour as the basis for his opinion that a hazardous roadway caused the accident, was not so significant a difference as to justify holding as matter of law that the sole proximate cause of the accident was the motorcyclist’s own negligence.

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