Bango v. Carteret Lions Club

Decision Date20 February 1951
Docket NumberNo. A--464,A--464
Citation12 N.J.Super. 52,79 A.2d 57
CourtNew Jersey Superior Court — Appellate Division

Robert C. Gruhin, Jersey City, argued the cause for the appellant.

John C. Stockel, Perth Amboy, argued the cause for the respondents.


The opinion of the court was delivered by


This appeal brings up for review a judgment of dismissal entered at the conclusion of the plaintiff's case. The plaintiff was a police officer assigned to duty on Pershing Avenue, a public highway in the Borough of Carteret, upon the occasion of a 'Soap Box Derby' which was held on that street. A 13-year-old boy, one of the contestants, coasting down the hill upon his home-made vehicle, lost control of it and ran into plaintiff, severely injuring him. To recovery compensation for his injuries, the action was brought.

A person who induces others to come upon his premises is under a duty to exercise reasonable care for their protection. He is not necessarily relieved of responsibility by the circumstance that the danger is created by an independent contractor. Sebeck v. Plattdeutsche Volkfest Verein, 64 N.J.L. 624, 46 A. 631, 50 L.R.A. 199 (E. & A. 1900). His duty extends to protection against the acts of third persons if he ought reasonably to have anticipated the occurrence. Exton v. Central R.R. Co., 62 N.J.L. 7, 42 A. 486, 56 L.R.A. 508 (Sup.Ct. 1898); Miller v. West Jersey & S.R.R. Co., 71 N.J.L. 363, 59 A. 13 (Sup.Ct. 1904). He may be liable though the place where the accident happened was public property, provided he asserted and maintained control of it. Skelly v. Pleasure Beach Corp., 115 Conn. 92, 160 A. 309 (Conn. 1932). The duty runs in favor of one who is not an invitee but who, like the plaintiff in the instant case, attends in the performance of a public duty. Restatement, Torts, § 345, illustration 2 and comment d. Cf. Barnett v. Atlantic City Electric Co., 87 N.J.L. 29, 93 A. 108 (Sup.Ct. 1915). But in order that the defendants be held liable, it must be shown that they had such degree of control that they could have averted the danger, or such superior knowledge that they should have foreseen and given warning of a danger not apparent to the plaintiff. For discussion of basis of liability to patron of amusement park, see Frear v. Manchester Traction etc. Co., 83 N.H. 64, 139 A. 86, 61 A.L.R. 1280 (N.H. 1927).

Let us inquire what connection the defendant had with the Soap Box Derby and what authority they exercised. The complaint charges, and the defendants admit, that they 'sponsored' the event. The import of the word 'sponsor' is rather vague. Typical usage is the statement that Senator A sponsored certain legislation, or the B corporation was sponsor of a certain broadcast. The admission of sponsorship does not carry the implication that defendants had control of Pershing Avenue, or management of the Derby, or are legally responsible for the arrangements. There is little evidence showing what part the defendants played. Boys who desired to enter the contests could obtain entry blanks at the place of business of the individual defendant. A carpenter, who built a ramp that was used in the races, testified that he did the work at the request of a man who told him that he represented the Lions Club. Another witness testified that the Lions Club advertised the event in the newspapers. The chairman of an unidentified group referred to as the Sponsoring Committee, was asked, 'What barriers did...

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11 cases
  • Krauth v. Geller
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court — Appellate Division
    • March 9, 1959 reasonably anticipated or foreseen.' (15 N.J.Misc., at page 727, 194 A. at page 875). (We see nothing in Bango v. Carteret Lions Club, 12 N.J.Super. 52, 79 A.2d 57 (App.Div.1951), certification denied 7 N.J. 347, 81 A.2d 522 (1951), relied on by plaintiff by way of analogy, which dictate......
  • Klinsky v. Hanson Van Winkle Munning Co.
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court — Appellate Division
    • December 19, 1955
    ...the association had control of the situation to such a degree that it could have averted the danger. Bango v. Carteret Lions Club, 12 N.J.Super. 52, 55, 79 A.2d 57 (App.Div.1951), certification denied, 7 N.J. 347, 81 A.2d 522 The action was properly dismissed as against the Hanson Van Winkl......
  • Watford v. Evening Star Newspaper Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit
    • January 8, 1954
    ...which was not reported. Accord: Macon Telegraph Pub. Co. v. Graden, 1949, 79 Ga.App. 230, 53 S.E. 2d 371. Contra: Bango v. Carteret Lions Club, 12 N.J.Super. 52, 79 A.2d 57, certification denied 1951, 7 N.J. 347, 81 A.2d 9 The jury's verdict could have been based on any one of the following......
  • Bango v. Ward
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • May 18, 1953
    ...close of plaintiff's case on defendants' motion under Rule 3:41--2. Upon appeal the judgment was affirmed. Bango v. Carteret Lions Club, 12 N.J.Super. 52, 79 A.2d 57 (App.Div.1951), certification denied 7 N.J. 347, 81 A.2d 522 (1951). The Appellate Division determined not only that 'there w......
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