32 A. 643 (Del.Super. 1892), Cook v. Wilmington City Electric Co.

Citation:32 A. 643, 14 Del. 306
Opinion Judge:CULLEN, J.
Attorney:Levi C. Bird and Andrew Sanborn, for plaintiff. J. H. Hoffecker, for defendant.
Judge Panel:Heard before HOUSTON and CULLEN, J. J.
Case Date:February 01, 1892
Court:Superior Court of Delaware

Page 643

32 A. 643 (Del.Super. 1892)

14 Del. 306




Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

February 1, 1892

ACTION for personal injuries resulting to the plaintiff from coming in contact with a live electric wire of the defendant company. (Facts fully appear in charge of the Court.)

Verdict for the plaintiff.

Levi C. Bird and Andrew Sanborn, for plaintiff.

J. H. Hoffecker, for defendant.

Heard before HOUSTON and CULLEN, J. J.


Page 644

CULLEN, J., charging the jury:

Gentlemen of the Jury: It becomes necessary for the Court to charge you in the case in which you have been empaneled, the suit of John E. Cook against the Wilmington City Electric Company. This, gentlemen, is a very interesting case, not that there are any new legal principles involved, because the principles which have already been decided in cases throughout the country and, I may say, in this State also, fully settle all the legal matters which are involved in this case; but every case, after all, must necessarily depend upon some peculiar fact or other upon which that immediate [14 Del. 307] case is based. I am not aware of (nor has there been produced here) any case in which are involved the immediate matters which are involved in the trial of this case. This is a suit which has been brought involving a certain state of facts; in other words, it involves a great principle, in which the public are very deeply interested, and that is the liability of persons engaged in a dangerous, business, a business, too, which affects immediately, and very seriously also, the life, limb and property of the public. Hence it is, that, although as I say there are no new principles of law involved, it becomes necessary for the court to explain to you what they think is the law. And I exceedingly regret that our honored and learned chief justice is not here to announce the principles of law which are involved in this case, rather than myself; but, notwithstanding, as it becomes my duty, I shall endeavor to announce to you here as clearly as I can what I consider are the principles involved with reference to the immediate facts growing out of this case, so that you may be able to render a verdict which will be a matter of protection, that the public may understand, and that the company carrying on a business attended with so much danger shall know what duties they owe to the public.

This, gentlemen, is an action brought by the plaintiff, John E. Cook, against the Wilmington City Electric Company, a corporation existing under the laws of this State, in whom was vested the right to generate electricity for the purpose, etc., of lighting the streets, residences and other places of business in the City of Wilmington. The plaintiff contends, that on the morning of the 24th of October, 1890, at about 6 o'clock, when returning from his...

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