Tucson Rapid Transit Co. v. Tocci
In Tucson Rapid Transit Co. v. Tocci, 3 Ariz. App. 330, 414 P.2d 179 (1966), Mrs. Tocci hit her head on her sun visor when a transit bus struck her car from behind. Id. at 331, 414 P.2d at 180.
After the accident she became depressed, was admitted to a hospital and, two days after being released, attempted suicide. Id. at 331-33, 414 P.2d at 180-82.
During trial, the focus was whether the accident was the proximate cause of her suicide attempt. Id. at 333-34, 414 P.2d at 182-83.
The trial court refused the bus company's instruction that damages could not be awarded for her subsequent suicide attempt. Id. at 332, 414 P.2d at 181. After the verdict, the bus company appealed. Id.
On appeal, the Court found the Restatement (Second) of Torts 455 (1965) instructive on the proximate cause of her attempted suicide. Tocci, 3 Ariz. App. at 335, 414 P.2d at 184.
Section 455 provides:
If the actor's negligent conduct so brings about the delirium or insanity of another as to make the actor liable for it, the actor is also liable for harm done by the other to himself while delirious or insane, if his delirium or insanity
(a) prevents him from realizing the nature of his act and the certainty or risk of harm involved therein, or
(b) makes it impossible for him to resist an impulse caused by his insanity which deprives him of his capacity to
The Court found that the trial court erred by refusing to give the instruction that damages could not be awarded for the suicide attempt because there was "no evidence to support plaintiffs' contention that the suicide attempt was the proximate result of defendant's negligence." Id. at 338, 414 P.2d at 187.
Further, the Court considered principles of inherent justice and public policy when we limited liability based on the concept of superseding cause. Id. at 337, 414 P.2d at 186.