Daugherty v. Montgomery Ward, No. 8945--PR

CourtSupreme Court of Arizona
Writing for the CourtMcFARLAND; BERNSTEIN
Citation428 P.2d 419,102 Ariz. 267
PartiesNan DAUGHERTY and Ray Daugherty, her husband, Appellants. v. MONTGOMERY WARD, an Illinois Corporation, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 8945--PR
Decision Date25 May 1967

Page 419

428 P.2d 419
102 Ariz. 267
Nan DAUGHERTY and Ray Daugherty, her husband, Appellants.
MONTGOMERY WARD, an Illinois Corporation, Appellee.
No. 8945--PR.
Supreme Court of Arizona, In Banc.
May 25, 1967.
Rehearing Denied June 20, 1967.

[102 Ariz. 268]

Page 420

Gorey & Ely, by Herbert L. Ely, Phoenix, for appellants.

Snell & Wilmer, by John J. Bouma, Phoenix, for appellee.

McFARLAND, Justice.

This case is before us on a petition for review of the decision of the court of appeals, 4 Ariz.App. 510, 422 P.2d 141.

The facts taken in the light most favorable to plaintiff are as follows:

Plaintiff, a business invitee of defendant store, was directed to its office. There an employee told her to be seated, and pushed a chair towards plaintiff for that purpose. The chair was what is known as a 'posture chair.' It was light in weight, on rollers, had no arms, and rolled easily when pushed. The floor was new, shiny, slick, and slippery, but plaintiff makes no claim of having slipped on its. She tried to sit on the chair, but instead sat on the floor and was injured. She does not know how the accident happened. She is not even sure that she waited for the chair to stop rolling before trying to sit on it. She states that as she sat down, the chair 'flew out from under me.' She could have missed the chair altogethr, and the chair's motion could have been caused by her back striking it as she fell. She could have bumped it with the back of her leg as she sat down, causing it to roll before she could sit on it. She could have sat so near the front edge that it slid or rolled out from under her. She is not sure whether her backside touched the chair or not.

She tried to show, at the trial, that a former employee had a similar fall prior to her accident. On cross examination of that employee, however, he stated that he had answered the telephone while standing up, and at the conclusion of the conversation had sat down without making sure that there was a chair under him, missed the chair, and sat upon the floor. Furthermore, he was not hurt, and continued with his work, so that no report was made of the incident. The employee was somewhat embarrassed by his clumsiness and hoped that no one had seen him fall. There is therefore no basis upon which to predicate an assumption that any one in defendant store had knowledge of this incident, and the testimony regarding it is therefore completely irrelevant.

Plaintiff also introduced evidence that there were other chairs, without casters, available 'towards the front part of the central credit office.' There was no evidence to show how far away the front part of the central credit office was from the place of the accident. That it was a considerable distance is evident from the fact that another employee 'directed us back,' that on the way plaintiff noticed that the floor was slippery, that she 'continued to walk to the back,' etc. The distance could be as much as thirty or forty yards, in which case she could hardly argue that other chairs without casters should have been proffered.

Plaintiff admits that she knew of the condition of the floor as soon as she saw it, and that 'I spoke to my son that it was slippery and I was real careful. * * * I did not slip on the floor.'

During the trial, plaintiff's counsel stated to the court: 'We don't claim that the chair was defective as such.' This statement is repeated in appellant's opening brief.

On cross examination, plaintiff was asked what defendant did that was wrong, that caused the accident. She replied that if defendant hadn't misplaced the document which she had come to discuss, she would not have gone to defendant's store. When asked whether defendant did anything else wrong that caused the accident, her answer was 'No.'

Defendant's motion for a directed verdict, made at the close of plaintiff's case, was overruled. After a judgment entered on the jury's verdict for $3,537, defendant moved for 'Judgment in Accordance with [102 Ariz. 269]

Page 421

Motion For Directed Verdict.' This motion was granted, and plaintiff appealed. The court of appeals reversed, and reinstated plaintiff's judgment.

The Motion for Judgment in Accordance with Motion for Directed Verdict is merely a way of re-arguing the original motion for a directed verdict. Glowacki v. A. J. Bayless Markets, 76 Ariz. 295, 263 P.2d 799. It therefore admits the truth of all competent evidence introduced by plaintiff, and all inferences that reasonably can be drawn therefrom. Figueroa v. Majors, 85 Ariz. 345, 338 P.2d 803. Where there is a reasonable chance that the conclusions of reasonable men may differ, then the question is one for the jury. Ibid.

Plaintiff pleaded the following grounds of negligence:

1. That the accident happened because of the extremely light weight of the chair, the fact that it was fitted with rollers, and the extraordinary slipperiness of the floor, which facts were known or should have been known to defendant's employee.

2. That defendant's employee failed to supply a chair of reasonably stable quality.

3. That defendant's employee failed to warn plaintiff of the instability of the chair and of the dangerous situation existing.

4. That defendant's employee failed to discharge her duty to plaintiff to maintain the premises and the equipment in a safe condition.

A party pleading negligence specifically, is limited to the grounds specifically pleaded. Hall v. Delvat, 95...

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27 cases
  • Rodgers v. Ray, No. 1
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • July 3, 1969
    ...for failure to warn of dangers that are as obvious to the person injured as to the possessor of the land. Daugherty v. Montgomery Ward, 102 Ariz. 267, 269, 428 P.2d 419, 421 (1967); and See Restatement (Second) of Torts § 343(A), particularly Comment on subsection (2) at page Whether there ......
  • Morrow v. Trailmobile, Inc., No. 1
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • August 31, 1970
    ...the question of its negligence in design is proper. Maas v. Dreher, 10 Ariz.App. 520, 460 P.2d 191 (1969); Daugherty v. Montgomery Ward, 102 Ariz. 267, 428 P.2d 419 STRICT TORT LIABILITY It is the law of this state that one engaged in the business of selling a product which is expected to a......
  • McMurtry v. Weatherford Hotel, Inc., No. 1 CA–CV 10–0863.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • January 10, 2013
    ...can be relieved of liability if the injury was caused by an open and obvious condition. See, e.g., Daugherty v. Montgomery Ward, 102 Ariz. 267, 270, 428 P.2d 419, 422 (1967) (“If people who are likely to encounter a condition may be expected to take perfectly good care of themselves without......
  • Compton v. National Metals Co., No. 1
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • September 22, 1969
    ...duty to have his premises in a reasonably safe condition and to give warning of latent or concealed perils. Daugherty v. Montgomery Ward, 102 Ariz. 267, 428 P.2d 419 (1967). See Prosser, Law of Torts, 3rd Ed. Chapter 11, p. 402. But an occupier of land is not an absolute insurer of the safe......
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