Armour v. Hahn

Decision Date14 April 1884
Citation28 L.Ed. 440,4 S.Ct. 433,111 U.S. 313
PartiesARMOUR v. HAHN
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Byron Sherry and Thos. P. Fenlon, for defendant in error.

This is an action brought by Hahn against Armour and others (of whom Armour alone was served with process) to recover damages for injuries suffered by the plaintiff while employed as a carpenter in the erection of a building for the defendants. The petition alleged that the plaintiff was and long had been in the defendant's employ as a carpenter, and while at work, together with others, in building an addition to a large packing-house owned and occupied by the defendants, was directed by them and their agents to take a joist and place it on the outer ends of sticks of timber inserted in and projecting from the wall of the new building; that while arranging and adjusting the joist, in accordance with the instructions of the defendants and their agents, it became necessary for him to step out upon one of the projecting timbers; that, immediately upon placing one foot upon the projecting timber, and while stooping over to arrange the joist, and without any notice, warning, or reason to believe that the projecting timber was insecure or unsafe, and without any fault or neglect on his part, the timber gave away, precipitating him from the top of the wall 34 feet to the platform beneath; that the defendants, well knowing the danger, negligently and wrongfully directed him to go out upon the projecting timber to arrange the joist, without advising him of the danger; and that by reason of the negligence of the defendants, in not having secured the projecting timber to the wall, and in not notifying him of its dangerous condition, he suffered great bodily injuries.

The testimony introduced for the plaintiff at the trial was in substance as follows: The plaintiff was engaged with 12 or 13 other carpenters, all paid by the day, in the erection of the new building. Bricklayers and other laborers were also at work upon it. The plaintiff was employed and paid by one Alcutt, the superintendent of the packing-house. One Fitzgerald was foreman of the carpenters, but not of the other workmen. The plaintiff, who had been working on one end of the roof, went to the other end, and was there set to work by the foreman upon the cornice. The cornice was made by inserting in the brick wall (which was thirteen inches thick) at intervals of eight or nine feet, and at right angles with it, sticks of timber projecting about sixteen inches from the wall, and by placing on the outer ends of those timbers, and parallel to the wall, joists sixteen or eighteen feet long and two and a half inches wide. The plaintiff and another of the carpenters were directed by their foreman to take a joist and put it out in its proper place on the projecting timbers. They took it and laid it upon those timbers. The foreman told them to push the joist out to the end of the timbers, but did not tell them to go out. Each man pushed out his end of the joist. The plaintiff, in order to reach over and place the joist, sat down with both feet on one of the projecting timbers, one foot on the part of it inside the wall, and the other foot on the part outside, when the timber tipped over, and caused the plaintiff to fall some 34 feet to the platform below, and to suffer the injuries sued for. The wall had just been bricked up on each side of this timber to a level with its upper surface, but no bricks had been laid over it. The foreman stood eight or ten feet further in; there was a space for the bricklayers to build up the wall, and they were working upon it. The plaintiff testified that he helped to put some of the sticks...

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188 cases
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    ...U.S. 349, 14 Sup.Ct. 983, 38 L.Ed. 1009; Grady v. Southern Ry. Co., 92 F. 491, 34 C.C.A. 494; Armour v. Hahn, 111 U.S. 313, 318, 4 Sup.Ct. 433, 28 L.Ed. 440; City of Minneapolis Lundin, 58 F. 525, 528, 7 C.C.A. 344; Lach v. Burnham (C.C.) 134 F. 688; Cleveland, C., C. & St. L. Ry. Co. v. Br......
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