Dockham v. Marr, 33

CourtSupreme Court of Michigan
Citation130 N.W.2d 924,373 Mich. 680
PartiesMilo H. DOCKHAM, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. George C. MARR, Russell E. Marr and Venice Huebner, individually and jointly and d/b/a Marr Theatre, Defendants and Appellants.
Docket NumberNo. 33,33
Decision Date02 November 1964

Page 924

130 N.W.2d 924
373 Mich. 680
Milo H. DOCKHAM, Plaintiff and Appellee,
George C. MARR, Russell E. Marr and Venice Huebner,
individually and jointly and d/b/a Marr Theatre,
Defendants and Appellants.
No. 33.
Supreme Court of Michigan.
Nov. 2, 1964.

[373 Mich. 681]

Page 925

Cicinelli, Mossner, Majoros & Harrigan, Saginaw (Peter F. Cicinelli and Eugene D. Mossner, Saginaw, of counsel), for appellee.

Stanton, Taylor, McGraw & Collison, Saginaw, for appellants.

Before the Entire Bench.

DETHMERS, Justice.

Plaintiff went to defendants' theatre and asked permission to enter, without paying an admission fee, for the purpose of looking for and getting his young son. He was granted the permission and did enter. It was a brigh afternoon. It was much darker in the theatre. Testimony was adduced of varying estimates as to how long it would take eyes to adjust from the outdoor brightness to the dimness inside. Plaintiff stood in the rear of the theatre and, for about 1 1/2 minutes, looked toward the screen on which a moving picture was being shown. He did not see his son. Against a side wall, at the rear of the theatre and behind the area where the audience was seated, was a sign indicating that a men's room was located in the direction further to the rear from the sign. Plaintiff proceeded toward the sign and turned in the direction indicated by it. There was a dark passageway along the wall on which the sign was located, extending to the rear therefrom. This the plaintiff entered, assuming that it led, as it did, to the men's room. [373 Mich. 682] However, the passageway extended but four feet to a stairway leading down to the men's room. There was no sign or indication that the men's room was on a lower floor or that there was a stairway ahead. After plaintiff had walked into the passageway, he came to and fell down the stairs which he testified he did not and could not see because of darkness. He had never been there before. He claimed his fall was due to inadequate lighting of the passageway and stairs and lack of a warning of the presence of the stairs.

Plaintiff sued for resulting damages. A jury found for him. Defendants' motion for judgment non obstante veredicto was denied. They appeal, asking for reversal and entry of a judgment non obstante veredicto in their favor.

Defendants urge as the sole issue on appeal whether plaintiff was contributorily negligent as a matter of law. They contend that he was, for having walked blindly and without due care into a passageway which he testified was so dark that he could not see the stairs. For the proposition that it is contributory negligence as a matter of law for a plaintiff to fail to exercise his natural faculties, such as eyesight, for his own protection in order to avoid injury or to proceed without being able to see, defendants cite Dahlerup v. Grand Trunk Western Railroad Company, 319 Mich. 96, 29 N.W.2d 156, Johnson v. City of Pontiac, 276 Mich. 103, 267 N.W. 795, Evans v. Orttenburger, 242 Mich. 57, 217 N.W. 753...

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4 cases
  • Gowdy v. United States, 18744.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • June 20, 1969
    ...jury issues of contributory negligence, e.g., Clark v. Dalman, 379 Mich. 251, 150 N.W. 412 F.2d 536 2d 755 (1967); Dockham v. Marr, 373 Mich. 680, 130 N.W.2d 924 (1964); and Ackerberg v. Muskegon Osteopathic Hospital, supra. However none of these cases involves so obvious a danger with no s......
  • Jaworski v. Great Scott Supermarkets, Inc., Docket No. 58979
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • December 22, 1978
    ...Contributory negligence is normally a question of fact submitted to the jury for consideration under proper instruction. Dockham v. Marr, 373 Mich. 680, 684, 130 N.W.2d 924 (1964); Cochran v. Pinto, 333 Mich. 91, 99, 52 N.W.2d 611 (1952); White v. Herpolsheimer Co., 327 Mich. 462, 470, 42 N......
  • Thomas v. Johnson, Civ. A. No. 1370-68.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 12, 1968
    ...the reasonable force necessary to perform 295 F. Supp. 1033 their important duty to society. — Sherbutte, supra, 374 Mich. at 55-56, 130 N.W.2d at 924. Since the motion before this Court is a motion to dismiss, we do not reach the ultimate question of liability on the part of the District o......
  • Professional Facilities Corp. v. Marks, 19
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • November 2, 1964
    ...because of counsel for plaintiff's statement to defense counsel that, by mistake, the wrong exhibit had been attached to the declaration [373 Mich. 680] as the alleged contract and that he would amend to attach the proper exhibit. This was done, but defendants' position was that it was no b......

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