74 S.W. 124 (Mo.App. 1903), Paden v. Blarcom

Citation:74 S.W. 124, 100 Mo.App. 185
Opinion Judge:BLAND, P. J.
Party Name:LIZZIE PADEN, Respondent, v. J. C. VAN BLARCOM, Appellant
Attorney:Boyle, Priest & Lehmann for appellant. Charles P. Johnson and Virgil Rule for respondent.
Judge Panel:BLAND, P. J. Judge Reyburn concurs; Judge Goode dissents.
Case Date:March 17, 1903
Court:Court of Appeals of Missouri

Page 124

74 S.W. 124 (Mo.App. 1903)

100 Mo.App. 185

LIZZIE PADEN, Respondent,


J. C. VAN BLARCOM, Appellant

Court of Appeals of Missouri, St. Louis

March 17, 1903

Page 125

Appeal from St. Charles Circuit Court.--Hon. E. M. Hughes, Judge.



The material allegations in the petition are that for more than ten years prior to the twenty-sixth day of February, 1896, plaintiff was in the employ of the defendant as a domestic; that prior to said date defendant had caused to be set up in his home in Westmoreland Place in the city of St. Louis, a combination cooking range, heated by gas or coal, designated or known as a "Majestic Range;" that the range when used and operated in a proper manner is not dangerous but when used in an improper manner is unsafe and exceedingly dangerous, which facts were then known to the defendant; that while plaintiff was in the kitchen in defendant's building, where said range had been set up, in the discharge of her duties under said employment and while in close proximity to said range, defendant negligently used and operated said range so as to cause great injury to plaintiff, in this, he negligently allowed that part of the range known as the broiler to fill with gas and negligently lighted the burners on top of the oven in close proximity to the broiler and caused the broiler to explode causing pieces of the range to strike plaintiff with great force and violence, breaking her arm, bruising her about the head and body and in the eye, causing a total loss of sight in one eye and permanently injuring and disfiguring her; by reason whereof she claims she was damaged in the sum of fifteen thousand dollars.

The answer admits that plaintiff was in defendant's employ as a domestic at the time of the accident mentioned; admits that he had set up in the kitchen of his new home a combination cooking stove heated by gas and known as a "Majestic Range;" admits that at the time of the accident he was engaged in using and operating the range; denies that he was doing so in a negligent manner; admits that the explosion occurred but denies that it was occasioned by any fault or negligence on the part of defendant; admits that plaintiff was injured but denies that she was injured by any fault or negligence on the part of the defendant and denies the injury to the extent alleged in the petition and denies each and every other allegation contained in the petition.

For a further defense defendant alleged that the "Majestic Range" was purchased by him of the Majestic Range Manufacturing Company, who are manufacturers of the range and reputed to be reliable and competent manufacturers of the same; that the range was set up by the company and turned over to the defendant as in a proper condition for safe use and that defendant so believing, at the time that said range was in such condition for safe use, ignited the same, when without any fault on his part the explosion occurred.

The reply was a general denial to the new matter alleged in the answer.

The evidence is that about ten days or two weeks prior to the accident the Majestic Range Company had placed in defendant's new building, then near completion, a combination cooking range heated by coal or gas and that connection had been made with the gas pipe in the building.

The gas was let into the range through a cut-off in the pipe at the side of the range. When this cut-off was open the gas would flow into the pipes supplying the valves, to the broiler and the burners on the top. The broiler was heated by opening valves in the supply pipe for the broiler and lighting the gas, and the burners were lighted in a similar manner by opening valves to the pipes supplying them with gas.

The evidence is that on the twenty-sixth day of February, 1896, the defendant, his wife, the plaintiff, and John Watts (colored) the butler, were in the building; that the plaintiff went on an errand from Mrs. Van Blarcom to Mr. Van Blarcom and in her search for him found him and Watts in the kitchen about the gas stove. She stated that she went in the kitchen to tell the defendant that his wife wanted him to come upstairs and open the safe; that he said he would be up in a minute and then said: "Lizzie I wish you would look at this stove and see if it burns as the one in the old house," and started to light another burner. She said: "No, I don't think it does. It don't catch as quickly as the one at the old house," and she was about to leave the room when the explosion took place. That when the explosion did take place she was struck above and below the right eye, where she has two scars, her right arm was broken and is yet badly injured and her right eye was entirely destroyed; that she had been in the service of defendant for about ten years prior to the accident and that her duties had been to "do sewing and take care of the boy;" that since the accident she has not been able to earn any more than enough to clothe herself and to make a living; that prior to the accident she had been receiving from defendant sixteen dollars a month and her board; that since the accident she has not been able to sew one day after another, that her left eye is weak and she is unable to do hard work on account of the injury to her right arm.

John Watts, the butler, testified that he and the defendant were looking around the stove; that defendant was in front and he on the side and that he could hear something blowing and the defendant asked him what it was and he told him that he didn't know. Defendant was looking and examining the stove and he (witness) stooped down to examine the stove and to look into the oven and just at that time the door blew off and blew over his head; that the explosion occurred almost instantly after he heard the noise; that before the plaintiff had come into the kitchen he, on the order of the defendant, had opened the cut-off and let the gas into the stove and that the defendant had lighted the burners on top; that before the gas was turned into the stove the valves...

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