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BILLINGSLEY v. WESTRAC COMPANY
October 15, 1965
JUANITA DESHAZO BILLINGSLEY, ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF JOE W. BILLINGSLEY, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF,
WESTRAC COMPANY AND DONALD EARL ADAMS, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Miller, Chief Judge.
In this action commenced April 9, 1965, plaintiff seeks to
recover damages for the alleged wrongful death of Joe W.
Billingsley growing out of a collision. Plaintiff, Juanita
DeShazo Billingsley, is the widow and duly appointed
Administratrix of the Estate of Joe W. Billingsley, deceased, and
is a resident of Sevier County and a citizen of Arkansas. The
defendant Westrac Company is a Pennsylvania corporation with its
principal place of business in California. The individual
defendant, Donald Earl Adams, an employee of Westrac, is a
citizen of the State of Washington. Jurisdiction exists by reason
of diversity of citizenship of the parties and the amount
involved, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1332(a), (1964 Supp.).
The collision between the tractor-trailer of Westrac, driven by
Donald Earl Adams, and the Chevrolet El Camino driven by Joe W.
Billingsley occurred approximately 12 1/2 miles west of Benton,
Arkansas, on Highway 70 at approximately 5:30 a.m. on March 3,
1965. At the place of impact the highway runs in a generally
east-west direction. The deceased was traveling west toward Hot
Springs, Arkansas. The tractor-trailer, which had been traveling
west, was across the highway in a generally north-south position.
The tractor was partially in a driveway on the north side of the
highway and the trailer was completely across the highway
The plaintiff alleged that the defendant Westrac, acting
through its servant and employee, and Donald Earl Adams
personally were negligent, as follows:
1. Driving and operating the tractor-truck-trailer
unit across the highway, blocking and obstructing
traffic upon the highway.
2. Failing to keep a proper lookout for other
vehicles on the highway.
3. Failing to use due care and caution in the
operation of the vehicle and failing to abide by the
traffic laws, rules and regulations governing the use
of highways by drivers of motor vehicles.
4. Failing to yield the right of way to the pickup
truck being properly operated by Joe W. Billingsley
in his proper lane of said highway.
She denied that the deceased was guilty of any negligence, and
further alleged that as a proximate and direct result of the
alleged negligent acts of the defendants, the deceased received
injuries which resulted in his death. Following these
allegations, the plaintiff specifically alleged the nature and
extent of the damages suffered by the estate and the heirs at law
of the deceased.
The defendants in their answer filed May 3, 1965, denied any
negligence on their part but admitted that Donald Earl Adams was
acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the
accident. The defendants further alleged that the negligence of
the deceased was the proximate cause of the accident which
resulted in his death, and alleged the following specific acts:
1. That he was operating his vehicle at an excessive
rate of speed.
2. That he failed to maintain a proper lookout for
other vehicles on the highway.
3. That he failed to keep his vehicle under proper
4. That if Billingsley discovered that he was
entering into a situation of peril in time to have
avoided the accident by the use of reasonable and
ordinary care in the management and operation of his
own vehicle, he negligently failed to exercise such
care to that end.
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