Card v. Carrigan., 6.

Citation137 N.J.L. 722,61 A.2d 263
Decision Date03 September 1948
Docket NumberNo. 6.,6.
PartiesCARD v. CARRIGAN.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE
Syllabus by the Court

1. If, from the testimony adduced on the plaintiff's case, it clearly appears that the plaintiff was guilty of negligence which contributed to the injury sustained, it becomes proper for the court to order a nonsuit.

2. A person is burdened with the duty of using a degree of care for his own safety commensurate with the known risk.

HEHER and EASTWOOD, Justices, and SCHETTINO, Judge dissenting.

Appeal from Supreme Court.

Action by William Card against Durwood Carrigan for personal injuries sustained in a fall through an open trap door in the floor of defendant's barroom. From a judgment of nonsuit, plaintiff appeals.

Affirmed.

Edmund J. Canzona and Parsons, Labrecque, Canzona & Combs, all of Red Bank, for plaintiff-appellant.

Sverre Sorenson and Roberts, Pilisbury, Carton & Sorenson, all of Atlantic Highlands, for defendant-respondent.

CASE, Chief Justice.

The appeal is from a judgment of nonsuit entered in the Supreme Court upon a finding of contributory negligence as a matter of law.

The following state of facts appeared from the testimony of the plaintiff. Plaintiff was employed by the Seaboard Ice Company for the delivering of ice. For two years prior to the accident sued upon he had made daily delivery of ice at the barroom of the defendant Carrigan and at the moment of the accident was engaged in such delivery. In the floor of the barroom, between the bar and the back bar, was a trap door which opened upwards and was used for the purpose of dropping barrels to the cellar by sliding them on a runway. Plaintiff knew that the trap door was there and that at times it was open. There were windows in the room, one of which was above the trap door, and although there were paper streamers which somewhat obscured the passage of direct rays of sunshine to the interior there was ample light to enable plaintiff to see the trap door. The reason he did not see it on this occasion was that he went in too quickly. He was under instructions from his boss and also from the defendant not to go behind the bar. Nevertheless he was accustomed, on occasions when there was not a barman in attendance, to go there in order to put the ice in the cooler. On the day in question defendant was on the porch of the premises busy fixing a sign. Plaintiff said, ‘Hello,’ but defendant ‘didn't answer. He was busy.’ Plaintiff passed into the barroom and found no one there. Knowing that in doing what he did he was violating the instructions of his superior and also of the defendant, he hurried behind the bar and fell through the open trap.

It may be that there was a triable issue as to whether plaintiff's practice on occasion to go behind the bar served to nullify, so far as the defendant was concerned, the instruction that he should not do so, but the clear fact remains that in going there plaintiff was perfectly aware that there was a trap door which might be open, which was open and which he could readily have seen was open had he looked, and that notwithstanding such knowledge and such opportunity he rushed into the danger without making an observation.

Two questions are always...

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7 cases
  • Seipel v. Sevek
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • December 9, 1958
    ...an appropriate case these become questions of law for the trial judge and should not be submitted to the jury. Card v. Carrigan, 137 N.J.L. 722, 724, 61 A.2d 263 (E. & A. 1948); George Siegler Co. v. Norton, 8 N.J. 374, 383--384, 86 A.2d 8 (1952). Justice Heher, speaking for the court in Bi......
  • Saporito v. Holland-America Lines
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • November 23, 1960
    ...refrigerator truck blew shut trapping plaintiff who knew of danger and of available means to prevent entrapment.). Card v. Carrigan, E. & A. 1948, 137 N.J.L. 722, 61 A.2d 263 (Plaintiff fell through open trap of which he had knowledge and warning, which was readily observable.). Saunders v.......
  • Bratka v. Castles Ice Cream Co., A--335
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • July 13, 1956
    ...an appropriate case these become questions of law for the trial judge and should not be submitted to the jury. Card v. Carrigan, 137 N.J.L. 722, 724, 61 A.2d 263 (E. & A.1948); George Siegler Co. v. Norton, 8 N.J. 374, 383--384, 86 A.2d 8 (1952). Justice Heher, speaking for the court in Bia......
  • Petrone v. Margolis, A--286
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • June 17, 1952
    ...the decedent was obliged to exercise a degree of care for his own safety commensurate with the known risk. Card v. Carrigan, 137 N.J.L. 722, 61 A.2d 263 (E. &A.1948). 'One's right to protection from the negligence of others carries with it the duty of reasonable care for one's own safety.' ......
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