131 S.E.2d 501 (N.C. 1963), 531, Wilson v. Lowe's Asheboro Hardware, Inc.

Docket Nº:531
Citation:131 S.E.2d 501, 259 N.C. 660
Party Name:W. A. WILSON v. LOWE'S ASHEBORO HARDWARE, INC., and Michigan Ladder Company.
Case Date:June 14, 1963
Court:Supreme Court of North Carolina

Page 501

131 S.E.2d 501 (N.C. 1963)

259 N.C. 660



LOWE'S ASHEBORO HARDWARE, INC., and Michigan Ladder Company.

No. 531

Supreme Court of North Carolina.

June 14, 1963

Page 502

James H. Pou Bailey, and George R. Ragsdale, Raleigh, for defendant-appellant.

Miller & Beck, by Adam W. Beck, Asheboro, for plaintiff-appellee.

RODMAN, Justice.

Michigan has three assignments of error: The first two challenge the competency of evidence admitted over its objection; the third is to the refusal of the court to allow its motion to nonsuit.

Plaintiff charges Michigan with negligence in (1) manufacturing the ladder from coarse grained pine of insufficient strength for a ladder of its type; (2) constructing the steps and rails from wood of insufficient thickness; and (3) cutting the grooves for insertion of the steps in the rail deeper than necessary or proper in ladders of the kind and size purchased by plaintiff.

Plaintiff, without objection, offered in evidence 'American Standard Safety Code for Portable Wood Ladders. ' The sponsors for this code are American Ladder Institute, American Society of Safety Engineers, and National Association of Mutual Casualty Companies. The ladder which plaintiff purchased is described in that code as type 3. The superintendent of production and purchasing agent for Michigan testified that Michigan 'follows that code in the production of its type 3 ladder.'

Table 1 of that code is a 'Classification of Various Species of Wood Acceptable for Use in Ladders. ' It classifies timbers suitable for that purpose in four groups. Group 1 lists the strongest. Group 2 woods have less strength than group 1, but they are stronger than woods in groups 3 and 4. Yellow pine is in group 2. White pine is in group 4.

Hal Garner, witness for plaintiff, testified that since 1925 he had been engaged in using lumber, building various structures such as cabinets, door frames, window frames, and during that period had used differing kinds of lumber, mostly pine, some oak and fir. Prior to 1925 he was engaged in sawmilling and had 'worked with wood all my adult life. ' The court found the witness to be 'an expert craftsman in the use of wood for manufacturing purposes. ' That holding is [259 N.C. 663] not now challenged. He was asked over defendant's objection if he knew what kind of wood the ladder was made of. He answered pine. The objection then made is not assigned as error. He then proceeded without objection to say that one of the rails was yellow pine. The other was known as white pine, also known as spruce pine or loblolly pine. 'The side rail that is not broken is the

Page 503

piece that is made out of yellow pine. As between those two kinds of wood, the broken piece is what we term as a spruce pine. It is different from yellow pine. I know what the difference is between the...

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