COLLINS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.
This is an appeal by the owners, (Keystone), of a Buick automobile, from a judgment in favor of the appellees for damages done to a tree, while that automobile was being operated by one Emilio Capanna.
At the trial below, Emilio Capanna was joined with the appellants, Keystone, as a defendant. Capanna also filed a cross-claim against the appellants, Keystone, for damages for personal injuries. The case was tried before a jury. A judgment was entered against the appellants, Keystone, in favor of the appellees for the sum of $500.00 with interest and costs, and in favor of Emilio Capanna, the remaining defendant. An appeal is taken from that judgment by Keystone to this Court. On the cross-claim of Capanna, a judgment was entered in his favor against the appellants, Keystone, for one cent damages, and costs. If an appeal was taken from the judgment on the cross-claim, it is now abandoned.
If any error was made in the court's instruction to the jury that question is not before us, as no objections
The question here presented is whether there was legally sufficient evidence in this case to entitle the appellees to recover against the appellants and therefore whether appellants' demurrer prayer and motion for judgment N.O.V. should have been granted. Of course, in deciding this question, we must resolve all conflicts in the evidence in favor of the appellees and assume the truth of all evidence and all inferences which may naturally and legitimately be deduced therefrom which tend to support plaintiff's claim. Eisenhower v. Baltimore Transit Co., 190 Md. 528, 532, 59 A.2d 313. We will therefore recite the evidence in a light most favorable to the appellee.
Mr. Emilio Capanna bought an automobile from the appellants sometime previous to May, 1949. Having had trouble with this car, on May 14, 1949, he brought it to appellants' place of business in Baltimore and wanted to "change" the car because it had been giving him "a lot of trouble". The appellants refused to accept the return of the car but agreed to repair it if Capanna would pay $70.00 for the necessary material. Appellants agreed to furnish the labor. The work would require about two days. Capanna told appellants that he would need a car to go to his work "far away" the next week. He could not leave his car for repairs unless he had another car. Appellants loaned him a Buick automobile on that day to use until his car was repaired. About 4 P.M. on May 14th Capanna took the car at appellants' shop and drove it from 350 Fallsway to his home on Manchester Avenue, a distance of about four or five miles. On his way home he was not required to stop once as there were no red lights against him. He did not "put on the brakes" once all the way home. He parked the car at the curb in front of his house. When asked whether he "put on" the emergency brake that night when he stopped the car, he replied: "There was
Mr. Jarrett, an employee of Keystone, testified that "about two weeks or two weeks and a half" before the Buick car was loaned to Capanna, he checked the motor, "the foot brakes were all right, I checked them in the basement, checked the fluid in the car, checked the lights, the front end, underneath parts, naturally, it was an old automobile, it wasn't a new car but they were in good mechanical condition". "The emergency brake held because when I came out of the basement I have a steep incline to come out, when I back the car in there, I have to set the brake to hold it to keep from running back." After the inspection by Mr. Jarrett, the Buick was placed on the lot for sale, where all the older model cars were placed. When asked whether anybody had driven it, he replied: "Not as I know of, sir, I don't think they had."
The next morning, Sunday, May 15th, Capanna started off in the Buick automobile to discuss the next week's business with his son-in-law, who lived on Simmonds Avenue. He drove the Buick out Reisterstown Road to Rogers Avenue. At the race track he turned left and entered Simmonds Avenue which is about 35 or 40 feet in width. Automobiles were parked on both sides of the street. He started down the steep hill on Simmonds Avenue and noticed children playing below him in the middle of the street. He put his foot on the brake but he "had no brake" because the brake would not work. He immediately "got the emergency brake". This would not work and he had nothing at all with which to stop the car. He tried to blow the horn but it would not blow. He said, "I start to quiver myself, so you know I look around, you know, to find a spot to stop my car somewhere. I got to stop this car. * * * I have no brake. I said, what you going to do, I have to stop somewhere." He saw a vacant spot on the side of the street and turned the car to the right and hit the curb. He broke one front wheel in the street and the other wheel was on top
Mr. Jarrett, the employee for the appellant, when asked the question: "Now you heard Mr. Goldman testify the car had no emergency brake," replied: "Yes, sir, I can't say why he could be so sure the automobile didn't have any emergency brake on the car, because when the car came back, it was so smashed up, we sold it for junk. The front wheel was off of it, the brake fluid hose was broken and stripped, and you couldn't tell whether it
From the testimony, the jury might have concluded that Capanna had no knowledge that the brakes on the Buick automobile were defective until the time of the accident in this case. From their verdict, it is evident that they did make this finding. They could have also found that he had made no inspection of the brakes. Although it was the duty of Capanna in driving this strange automobile for the first time to see that there were no obvious defects in its mechanism which were apt to cause injury to others, Sothoron v. West, 180 Md. 539, 544, 26 A.2d 16, the jury found in his favor and no appeal is before us from that judgment.
In this State: "Every motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold such vehicle, including two separate means of applying the brakes to at least two wheels. * * *" Code 1947 Supplement, Article 66 1/2, Sec. 232. The appellants rely strongly on the case of Sothoron v. West, supra. However, that case involved an action against the driver of an automobile with defective brakes, and not against the owner and therefore is not in point here.
In Milestone System v. Gasior, 160 Md. 131, 152 A. 810, the defendant let for reward a passenger automobile. While this car was being used a passenger was injured by falling through a defective door of that car. In a suit for damages for the injury to the passenger this Court said at page 136: "So, if with knowledge, or an absence of knowledge because of a failure on the part of the letter to take affirmative action to examine, with care and skill, the automobile to ascertain if any defects exist
The rule seems well expressed in the case of Egan Chevrolet Co., v. Bruner, supra, 8 Cir., 1939, 102 F.2d 373, 375, 122 A.L.R. 987, where is said: "A retail dealer who takes a used truck in trade and undertakes to repair and recondition it for resale for use upon the public highways owes a duty to the public to use reasonable care in the making of tests for the purpose of detecting defects which would make the truck a menace to those who might use it or come in contact with it and in making the repairs necessary to render the truck reasonably safe for use upon the public highways, and is charged with knowledge of defects which are patent or discoverable in the exercise of ordinary care. * * * The rule does not mean — as the appellant seems to fear — that a dealer in used motor vehicles, who undertakes to recondition a truck for resale, becomes virtually an insurer of the safety of the truck he sells, nor does it mean that he is required to disassemble an entire truck to examine each of its parts. It does mean that he must
Even if Capanna was negligent in not inspecting the brakes of this strange car, his negligence was merely concurrent with the alleged negligence of the appellants in not inspecting the automobile with reasonable care before loaning it to Capanna, and not such as to prevent the jury from finding that appellants' negligence was the proximate cause of the accident. There was no evidence that any operation by Capanna of the automobile caused the accident other than the failure of the brakes which the jury could have found should have been inspected and repaired by appellants before allowing the car to be used on the public highways. As was quoted from Addison on Torts in United Railways Co., v. Perkins, 152 Md. 105, at page 111, 136 A. 50, at page 53: "Whoever does an illegal act is answerable for all the consequences that ensue in the ordinary and natural course of events, though those consequences be immediately or directly brought about by the intervention of others, provided the intervening agents were set in motion by the primary wrongdoer, or provided their acts causing the damage were the necessary or legal and natural consequence of the original wrongful act." See authorities there cited. Lashley v. Dawson, 162 Md. 549, 562, 160 A. 738, and authorities there cited. It was said by Judge Offutt in Holler v. Lowery, 175 Md. 149, at page 161, 200 A. 353 at page 358: "There is no mystery in the doctrine of proximate cause. It rests upon common sense rather than legal formula. Expressed in the simplest
From the evidence in this case the jury could have found that when the appellants bought this Buick and loaned it to Capanna "it was an old car, dirty and rusty underneath"; that it had not been inspected for over two weeks before it was loaned to Capanna; that when loaned to Capanna it had no emergency brake; that the proximate cause of the accident was a break in the rotten hydraulic hose of the foot brake and the lack of an emergency brake while Capanna was driving down the hill; and that reasonable care in the inspection of this automobile, would have disclosed the lack of an emergency brake and perhaps the rotten hydraulic hose to the foot brake. Applying these facts to the principles of law as above set forth, we are of opinion that the demurrer prayer of the appellants and motion for a judgment N.O.V. were properly refused. Flies v. Fox Bros. Buick Co., 196 Wis. 196, 218 N.W. 855, 60 A.L.R. 357 Saunders System Birmingham Co. v. Adams, 217 Ala. 621, 117 So. 72, 73, 61 A.L.R. 1333.
Judgment affirmed, with costs.