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Farwell v. Keaton

From lawbrain.com

Farwell v. Keaton, 240 N.W. 2d 217(1976), was a torts case that helped define whether there is a duty when it comes to physical injuries and the extent that a special relationship plays in that evaluation.

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Summary of Case Facts

Siegrist and Farwell followed girls to a restaurant and were chased by the girls guy friends and Farwell was severely beaten in the encounter. Farwell went to sleep in the back seat of his car & Siegrist tried to wake him but couldn’t so he left him there in the driveway of the plaintiff’s grandma's house. The grandparents discovered Farwell the next morning and took him to the local hospital where he died 3 days later. Doctor testified that had Farwell been taken to the hospital sooner, there would have been a higher chance for survival. Plaintiff’s (Farwell's estate) argue that the defendant was acting affirmatively in a manner that made the condition worse and therefore created a risk.


Did Siegrist have a legal duty to obtain medical assistance for his badly injured friend?

Holding and Law

Yes, Siegrist knew or should have known of the peril of his friend. There was a special relationship between the two parties and the defendant could have rendered assistance without endangering himself and he had an affimative duty to come to Farwell’s aid.

This case also includes a noteworthy dissenting opinion which essentially argued that the defendant’s knowledge of the injuries does not indicate that he would have been aware of the necessity of immediate medical attention. The dissent added that the presence of a close relationship does not necessarily establish a duty to obtain assistance for the decedent.

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