3, Redfield v. School Dist. No. 3, in Kittitas County

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Citation48 Wash. 85,92 P. 770
Decision Date13 December 1907

92 P. 770

48 Wash. 85


Supreme Court of Washington

December 13, 1907

Appeal from Superior Court, Kittitas County; H. B. Rigg, Judge.

Action by Mamie M. Redfield, a minor, by John J. Redfield, her guardian ad litem, against school district No. 3, in Kittitas county. From a judgment sustaining a demurrer to the complaint, plaintiff appeals. Reversed, with instructions to overrule the demurrer. [92 P. 771]

Pruyn & Felkner, for appellant.

Hovey & Hale and Graves & McDaniels, for respondent.


This is an action against school district No. 3 in Kittitas county. The complaint alleges, in substance, that while Mamie Redfield, a minor, was attending the public school in said district in the public schoolhouse where she had a right to be as a student of the public schools, the schoolroom was heated by a furnace; that there was a register in the floor of said schoolroom through which the heat of said furnace would come into said room and heat the same, and when the said furnace was fired the district, and its agents, servants, teachers, and employés, carelessly and negligently kept and maintained upon said register a large metal bucket of the capacity[48 Wash. 86] of more than three gallons, and caused said bucket to be kept nearly full of water; that, by reason of the heat from said register, the water in the bucket was kept scalding hot; that the register was in or near the center of the schoolroom, and said bucket was carelessly and negligently kept and left by the defendant and its agents, servants, teachers, and employés, wholly unguarded and unprotected in any manner whatever and was liable at any time to be upset and overturned, and avers that on or about the 9th day of January, 1906, said bucket full of scalding water was upset and overturned, without any fault of the plaintiff, said Mamie Redfield, and that the scalding water from the bucket ran over the legs and feet and lower part of the body of the said Mamie Redfield and injured her in the manner described in the complaint. To this complaint the defendant district filed a general demurrer. The court sustained the demurrer upon the ground that the plaintiff had no right of action against the district. The cause was dismissed, judgment entered for costs, and appeal followed.

It will be seen that the only question for determination is whether a school district in this state is liable for the negligent acts or omissions of its officers and agents in the performance of their duties. It may be conceded that school districts are involuntary corporations, organized, not for profit or gain, but solely for the public benefit, and as a means of carrying out the scheme of the state to educate its citizens. The same thing, however, may be said of cities and counties, though their objects and purposes are different and their powers are not so limited as the powers of school districts. This, however, is simply a matter of degree. They are all formed for the benefit of the public, and not as money-making corporations, and all have delegated governmental functions to perform. It is contended by the respondent that it appears from the averments of the complaint that the agents of the school district in question were...

To continue reading

Request your trial
21 cases
  • Snowden v. Kittitas County School Dist. No. 401, 31413
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • May 18, 1951
    ...school districts and certain other public corporations by the enactment in 1869 of Rem.Rev.Stat. § 951. Redfield v. School District No. 3, 48 Wash. 85, 92 P. 770; Howard v. Tacoma School District No. 10, supra; Stovall v. Toppenish School District No. 49, 110 Wash. 97, 188 P. 12, 9 A.L.R. 9......
  • Howard v. Tacoma School Dist. No. 10, Pierce County, 12323.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • November 17, 1915
    ...in the premises by the provision of the statute, Rem. & Bal. Code, §§ 950, 951, as construed by this court in Redfield v. School District, 48 Wash. 85, 92 P. 770. Two questions are thus presented: (1) Was the school district acting in a governmental capacity and hence not liable in an actio......
  • Yarnell v. Marshall School Dist. No. 343, 28949.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • March 23, 1943
    ...These sections were enacted by the legislature in 1869, and were considered by this court in the case of Redfield v. School Dist. No. 3, 48 Wash. 85, 92 P. 770, in which it was held that a complaint which alleged that a pupil who was injured in a school building by the overturning of a buck......
  • Sherwood v. Moxee School Dist. No. 90, 35511
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • June 22, 1961
    ...appears to have been taken from Oregon after it had been construed by the courts of that state.' Redfield v. School District No. 3, 1907, 48 Wash. 85, 92 P. 770, was the first Washington case in which a school district was held vicariously liable for negligence. Eight years later (1915), th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT