Cropanese v. Martinez, No. A-100

CourtNew Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
PartiesSanto CROPANESE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Philip MARTINEZ and Mary Martinez, his wife, Defendants-Respondents, and Standard Accident Insurance Company, Defendant. . Appellate Division
Decision Date07 April 1955
Docket NumberNo. A-100

Page 118

35 N.J.Super. 118
113 A.2d 433
Santo CROPANESE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Philip MARTINEZ and Mary Martinez, his wife, Defendants-Respondents,
and
Standard Accident Insurance Company, Defendant.
No. A-100.
Superior Court of New Jersey.
Appellate Division.
Argued March 21, 1955.
Decided April 7, 1955.

Page 119

Isadore Waks, Paterson, argued the cause for appellant (Sam Weiss, Perth Amboy, on the brief).

Richard A. Dunne, Jersey City, argued the cause for respondents (Emory, Langan & Lamb, Jersey City, attorneys; James J. Langan and Richard A. Dunne, Jersey City, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges GOLDMANN, FREUND and CONFORD.

The opinion of the court was delivered by

GOLDMANN, S. J. A. D.

Plaintiff sued to recover damages for injury to his fingers suffered while he was helping defendant Martinez assemble lengths of iron pipe on defendants' premises. The action against the insurance company under the second count of the complaint was discontinued at pretrial. The Law Division granted defendants' motion for judgment of involuntary dismissal at the close of plaintiff's case, and plaintiff appeals.

Plaintiff and Martinez had moved into nearby houses in a new development in Totowa some two years before the occurrence in question. Prior to the accident they helped each other with various projects on their respective premises. Plaintiff and his wife were at the Martinez home on Sunday afternoon, August 2, 1953, arriving at 1:00 or 1:30 P.M. Plaintiff gave as the reason for his presence there the fact that Martinez had asked him to help assemble a 45-foot length of pipe that would be used as part of a fence defendant intended erecting. The two had done some work on the project before the day in question, plaintiff having helped Martinez mix cement and build a retaining wall. Work on the pipe began immediately after plaintiff arrived. They measured the pipe into [113 A.2d 434] seven-foot lengths, cut and threaded each piece, and then proceeded to assemble them by screwing one section into another atop a cinder-block wall. Plaintiff would grip the pipe near the assembling end with a wrench in his left hand, and hold the rest of the pipe with his right.

Page 120

Martinez would start screwing the new section into the pipe which plaintiff was holding on top of the wall. Plaintiff said that when the threads got close to the end and the assembling of the two lengths became more difficult, Martinez would tell him to hold on because he was going to give the pipe a "good hard turn." Plaintiff would then grip the pipe firmly while Martinez gave the new length several hard turns so as to make a tight join. This warning was given by Martinez on the first and third lengths of pipe; it appears that plaintiff himself screwed in the second length. The accident happened when the fourth section was being screwed in. Martinez told plaintiff to keep an eye on the assembled pipe so that it would not go off the wall. He was standing close to and behind plaintiff, so that at the moment plaintiff could not see what he was doing. Plaintiff testified that Martinez gave him no notice or signal that he was going to tighten the pipe, so that he could brace himself and hold the pipe in a tight grip. What happened can best be decribed from the record:

"Q. Now, tell us what happened then. A. Well, I was holding on to the pipe and all of a sudden there was a hard jar in the pipe there. It happened so fast. Knowing that the pipe on the end of the wall would start to go off, I tried to hold it with my right hand. I had my right hand between the cinder blocks and I tried to hold it but it was too heavy for me to hold. The pipe slid off the wall and cut my finger and broke the end right off, and cut the other finger, too, and scraped the nail half-way off on it."

Martinez at once drove plaintiff to the hospital. As he drove out of his driveway he said: "Gee, Sam, I am sorry. I should have told you to hold on." And when he took plaintiff to the doctor's office the next evening he again said he was sorry the accident happened and that he should have told him he was going to give the pipe a hard turn.

Plaintiff was the only witness who testified on the question of liability. At the close of plaintiff's case defendants moved for dismissal on two grounds: (1) contributory negligence as a matter of law, and (2) plaintiff was a social guest. The court granted the motion on the latter ground.

Page 121

Defendants now concede that plaintiff was not guilty of contributory negligence or that he had assumed the risk,...

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18 practice notes
  • Krauth v. Geller, No. A--517
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • March 9, 1959
    ...v. Meghrigian, 15 N.J. 267, 276, 104 A.2d 689, 693 (1954). This principle was expressed by Judge Goldmann in Cropanese v. Martinez, 35 N.J.Super. 118, 124, 113 A.2d 433, 436 (App.Div.1955), wherein he quoted from the Restatement of Torts, § 341, "A possessor of land is subject to liability ......
  • Genovay v. Fox, No. A--623
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • June 16, 1958
    ...Corp., 24 N.J. 438, 132 A.2d 505 (1957); Mistretta v. Alessi, 45 N.J.Super. 176, 131 A.2d 891 (App.Div.1957); Cropanese v. Martinez, 35 N.J.Super. 118, 113 A.2d 433 The occupier-invitee cases broadly involve two kinds of asserted default, the condition of the premises and the activities car......
  • Bergquist v. Penterman, Nos. A--275
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • July 25, 1957
    ...of those who were participants, directly and indirectly, at the time and place of the fatal explosion. Cf. Cropanese v. Martinez, 35 N.J.Super. 118, 113 A.2d 433 (App.Div.1955). Bergquist's injury and death were attributable to what was done in the course of completing the plumbing and floo......
  • Robinson v. Fort Dodge Limestone Co., No. 50071
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 13, 1960
    ...and place it in trucks as was done here. It is an active situation as in Stafford v. Gowing, supra. See also Cropanese v. Martinez, 35 N.J. Super. 118, 113 A.2d 433; and Partin v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, 102 N.H. 62, 149 A.2d 860, 862. It is not passive as in Vollmar v. J. C. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Krauth v. Geller, No. A--517
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • March 9, 1959
    ...v. Meghrigian, 15 N.J. 267, 276, 104 A.2d 689, 693 (1954). This principle was expressed by Judge Goldmann in Cropanese v. Martinez, 35 N.J.Super. 118, 124, 113 A.2d 433, 436 (App.Div.1955), wherein he quoted from the Restatement of Torts, § 341, "A possessor of land is subject to liability ......
  • Genovay v. Fox, No. A--623
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • June 16, 1958
    ...Corp., 24 N.J. 438, 132 A.2d 505 (1957); Mistretta v. Alessi, 45 N.J.Super. 176, 131 A.2d 891 (App.Div.1957); Cropanese v. Martinez, 35 N.J.Super. 118, 113 A.2d 433 The occupier-invitee cases broadly involve two kinds of asserted default, the condition of the premises and the activities car......
  • Bergquist v. Penterman, Nos. A--275
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • July 25, 1957
    ...of those who were participants, directly and indirectly, at the time and place of the fatal explosion. Cf. Cropanese v. Martinez, 35 N.J.Super. 118, 113 A.2d 433 (App.Div.1955). Bergquist's injury and death were attributable to what was done in the course of completing the plumbing and floo......
  • Robinson v. Fort Dodge Limestone Co., No. 50071
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 13, 1960
    ...and place it in trucks as was done here. It is an active situation as in Stafford v. Gowing, supra. See also Cropanese v. Martinez, 35 N.J. Super. 118, 113 A.2d 433; and Partin v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, 102 N.H. 62, 149 A.2d 860, 862. It is not passive as in Vollmar v. J. C. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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