Eads v. Young Women's Christian Assn., No. 28541.

CourtMissouri Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCooley
Citation29 S.W.2d 701
PartiesPEARL EADS, Appellant, v. YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION ET AL.
Decision Date11 June 1930
Docket NumberNo. 28541.
29 S.W.2d 701
PEARL EADS, Appellant,
v.
YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION ET AL.
No. 28541.
Supreme Court of Missouri, Division Two.
June 11, 1930.

Appeal from Jackson Circuit Court.Hon. O.A. Lucas, Judge.

AFFIRMED.

Gamble, Trusty & Pugh for appellant.

(1) The evidence was sufficient to uphold a finding of negligence on the part of the corporate defendant, Y.W.C.A., for violation of (a) The safe place and appliance rule. Goldsmith v. Bldg. Co., 182 Mo. 597; Martin v. Kline & Co. (Mo.), 249 S.W. 965. (b) The guarding statute. Wagner v. Gilsonite Co. (Mo.), 220 S.W. 890; Unrein v. Hide Co. (Mo.), 244 S.W. 924; Schleef v. Schoen (Mo. App.), 270 S.W. 410; Holder v. Horticulture Soc., 211 Mass. 370. (2) The corporation, though organized under R.S. 1919, Ch. 90, Art. 11, Secs. 1026-1028, in actual practice was engaged in a commercial operation and therefore is not exempt from liability for acts of negligence committed toward plaintiff while so engaged. Murtaugh v. St. Louis, 44 Mo. 481; Phillips v. Railroad, 211 Mo. 419; Brennan v. Cabanne Church (Mo.), 192 S.W. 982; Nicholas v. Evangelical Home, 281 Mo. 182, 219 S.W. 643; Cochran v. Wilson, 287 Mo. 210, 229 S.W. 1050; Adams v. University Hosp., 122 Mo. App. 675; Whittaker v. Hosp., 137 Mo. App. 116; Roberts v. Kirksville College (Mo. App.), 16 S.W. (2d) 625; Davis v. Congregational etc. Soc., 129 Mass. 367; Chapin v. Holyoke Y.M.C.A., 165 Mass. 280; Holder v. Horticultural Soc., 211 Mass. 370; Gamble v. Vanderbilt University, 138 Tenn. 616, 200 S.W. 510; Love v. Normal Institute (Tenn.), 243 S.W. 304. (3) The rule exempting a private charity from liability for negligence should not be extended to include employees, who like plaintiff, was not the recipient of charity. 14 A.L.R. 572; Winnemore v. Phil., 18 Pa. Sup. Ct. 625; Hewett v. Woman's Hosp. Assn., 73 N.H. 556, 64 Atl. 190; Bruce v. Central M.E. Church, 147 Mich. 230, 110 N.W. 951; Horndern v. Salvation Army, 199 N.Y. 233, 92 N.E. 626; McInerny v. St. Luke's etc. Assn. 122 Minn. 10, 141 N.W. 837; Armendarez v. Hotel Dieu (Tex.), 210 S.W. 518. (4) The charter of the corporation clothed the trustees with the exclusive power and duty to manage its property and keep it in good repair; and their act in providing and failing to guard the safety-lock by which plaintiff was injured was misfeasance for which they are liable personally. Harriman v. Stowe, 57 Mo. 93; McGinnis v. Railroad Co., 200 Mo. 347; Stewart v. Oil Co. (Mo. App.), 244 S.W. 970; Koken etc. Co. v. Kinealy, 86 Mo. App. 199; McMahon v. Railroad (Mo. App.), 277 S.W. 356; Wright v. Railroad Co. (N.C.), 66 S.E. 588; Louisville etc. Co. v. Morgan, 180 Ky. 609; Gamble v. University, 138 Tenn. 616, 200 S.W. 510; Ewing v. Foley (Tex.), 280 S.W. 499, 44 A.L.R. 627.

McCune, Caldwell & Downing, Conrad & Durham, Harry & Koontz and H.M. Beardsley for respondents.

(1) The Y.W.C.A. is a charitable association and exempt from liability in damage suits, as its resources are trust funds which cannot be diverted nor absorbed by personal injury claimants. (a) The Association was organized under the provisions of R.S. 1919, Chap. 90, Art. XI, relating to benevolent, religious and other charitable associations and its stated object is the promotion of the spiritual, intellectual, social and physical welfare of young women; it had no capital stock and no one connected therewith derived any profit therefrom. Secs. 10271, 10275, R.S. 1919; Nicholas v. Evangelical Deaconess Home, 281 Mo. 182, 219 S.W. 643; Coal & Mining Co. v. Mayer, 310 Mo. 104, 274 S.W. 770; Fruit Growers Assn. v. Produce Co., 220 S.W. 911; State ex rel. Douglas v. Reynolds, 276 Mo. 688, 209 S.W. 100. (b) In this State the resources and revenue of charitable institutions, however derived, constitute a trust fund for the administration of the benevolent purposes of the organization and cannot be diverted to pay damage suit claims. Murtaugh v. City of St. Louis, 44 Mo. 479; Adams v. University Hospital, 122 Mo. App. 675; Whittaker v. St. Luke's Hospital, 137 Mo. App. 116; Nicholas v. Evangelical Deaconess Home, 281 Mo. 182, 219 S.W. 643; Cochran v. Wilson, 287 Mo. 210, 229 S.W. 1050; Roberts v. College of Osteopathy & Surgery, 16 S.W. (2d) 625. (c) The rule in Missouri is in accord with the great weight of authority in this country. Deming Ladies Hospital Assn. v. Price, 276 Fed. 668; Paterlini v. Memorial Hospital Assn., 247 Fed. 639; Arkansas M.R. Co. v. Pearson, 98 Ark. 399; Levy v. Superior Ct., 74 Cal. App. 171, 239 Pac. 1100; Brown v. Hospital Assn., 274 Pac. 740; Hearns v. Waterbury Hospital, 66 Conn. 98; Butler v. Berry School, 27 Ga. App. 560, 109 S.E. 544; Parks v. Northwestern University, 218 Ill. 381; Old Folks Home v. Roberts, 83 Ind. App. 546, 149 N.E. 188; Mikota v. Sisters of Mercy, 183 Iowa, 1378, 168 N.W. 219; Webb v. Vought and Salvation Army, 127 Kan. 799, 275 Pac. 170; Emery v. Jewish Hospital Assn., 193 Ky. 400, 236 S.W. 577; Thibodaux v. Sisters of Charity, 123 So. 466; Jensen v. Eye & Ear Infirmary, 107 Me. 408, 78 Atl. 898; Loeffler v. Trustees of Hospital, 130 Md. 265, 100 Atl. 301; Conklin v. Industrial Home, 224 Mass. 222, 112 N.E. 606; Farrigan v. Pevear, 193 Mass. 147; Duncan v. Sanitarium Assn., 92 Neb. 162, 137 N.W. 1120; D'Amato v. Orange Memorial Hospital, 101 N.J.L. 61, 127 Atl. 340; Taylor v. Protestant Hospital Assn., 85 Ohio St. 90; Gable v. Sisters of St. Francis, 227 Pa. 254; Vermillion v. Woman's College, 104 S.C. 197, 88 S.E. 649; Baylor University v. Boyd, 18 S.W. (2d) 700; Susman v. Y.M.C.A., 101 Wash. 487, 172 Pac. 554; Roberts v. Ohio Valley General Hospital, 98 W. Va. 476, 127 S.E. 318; Bachman v. Y.W.C.A., 179 Wis. 178, 191 N.W. 751, 30 A.L.R. 448; Bishop Randall Hospital v. Hartley, 24 Wyo. 408, 160 Pac. 385. (2) The individual defendants, being the trustees, owed no duty to this plaintiff and had nothing whatever to do with the elevator or its alleged condition so cannot be held responsible under any theory. Mott v. Morris, 249 Mo. 137; 14A C.J. 177; 3 Thompson on Corporations, secs. 4090, 4091; Glaser v. Rothschild, 221 Mo. 180; Behre v. Hemp & Co., 191 S.W. 1038; O'Neil v. Young, 58 Mo. App. 628; Paterlini v. Memorial Hospital Assn., 247 Fed. 639; Williams v. Dean, 134 Iowa, 216, 111 N.W. 931, 11 L.R.A. (N.S.) 410.

COOLEY, C.


Action for damages for personal injuries brought by plaintiff in the Circuit Court of Jackson County. At the close of plaintiff's evidence the court sustained defendants' demurrer thereto and gave instructions directing a verdict for defendants, whereupon plaintiff took an involuntary nonsuit with leave and in due time moved to set same aside. Such motion being overruled, plaintiff appealed.

Defendant Young Women's Christian Association of Kansas City, Missouri, which we shall refer to as the Y.W.C.A., was incorpoated about 1890 under the provisions of Article X, Chapter 42, Revised Statutes 1889, now Article XI, Chapter 90, Revised Statutes 1919. Two of the individual defendants,

29 S.W.2d 702

Mrs. George H. Gorton and Mrs. Herbert V. Jones, are alleged in plaintiff's petition to be, respectively, president and first vice-president, and the nine other individual defendants (men) to constitute the board of trustees of defendant Y.W.C.A.

Defendant Y.W.C.A. owns a six-story building stituated at No. 1020 McGee Street in the business district of Kansas City, Missouri. Plaintiff, a young woman twenty-two years of age at the time of her injury, April, 1923, was an employee of the Y.W.C.A., engaged in operating a passenger elevator in said building. At the time in question the first or ground floor of the building, aside from the space called the lobby, was occupied by the Y.W.C.A. for its offices and the third floor for its reading rooms, rest rooms, etc. The sixth floor was undergoing repairs and was not occupied. There was a cafeteria in the basement. It is not definitely shown, but may be inferred, that the cafeteria was operated by the Y.W.C.A. in connection with its benevolent activities. The remaining floor space, that on the second, fourth and fifth floors, was rented to tenants who carried on divers business pursuits unrelated to those of the Y.W.C.A. The elevator, being the only one in the building, was used in common by the Y.W. and its said tenants and their respective employees, customers and patrons.

Plaintiff was injured as she started the elevator downward from the third floor, to which she had just taken a passenger who worked for one of the fourth-floor tenants. The injury was caused by the catching of her dress on the prongs of an unguarded device called a safety lock, attached to the inside of the elevator shaft at the floor level, which device was designed to hold shut the door opening into the elevator shaft when the elevator itself was not at that floor. Plaintiff was thrown against the lever which controlled the movement of the elevator, thereby reversing the course of the latter, and as it moved upward plaintiff's foot and the lower part of her leg were caught between the elevator floor and the wall of the shaft and injured. There was evidence tending to show that the safety lock could have been so placed or so guarded as to have prevented the injury.

Plaintiff in her petition alleged that she was in the employ of the corporation defendant and that the individual defendants were managing officers of said association, "and as such had charge of said building, and that said officers and their associates, appointees and agents were charged with the duty of supervision, management and operation of said building and said elevator therein;" and that her injuries were caused by defendants' negligence in that they: (1) failed to have the above mentioned device guarded so as to prevent such occurrences; (2) failed to provide the exit of the car with a door or collapsible grill or other shield to protect plaintiff; (3) failed to warn plaintiff of the presence of said device and of the danger...

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14 practice notes
  • President and Dir. of Georgetown College v. Hughes, No. 7761.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 30 Junio 1942
    ...General Hospital, 1876, 120 Mass. 432, 21 Am.Rep. 529 (patient). Missouri: Eads v. Young Women's Christian Ass'n, 1930, 325 Mo. 577, 29 S.W.2d 701 (employee); Roberts v. Kirksville College, Mo.App.1929, 16 S. W.2d 625 (paying patient). Oregon: Hill v. President and Trustees of Tualatin Acad......
  • Miller v. Muscarelle, No. A--551
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • 1 Mayo 1961
    ...County Agricultural Soc., 115 Neb. 579, 213 N.W. 966, 52 A.L.R. 1393 (Sup.Ct.1927); Eads v. Young Women's Christian Ass'n, 325 Mo. 577, 29 S.W.2d 701 (Sup.Ct.1930); Coffer v. Bradshaw, 46 Ga.App. 143, 167 S.E. 119 (Ct.App.1932); Montanick v. McMillin, 225 Iowa 442, 280 N.W. 608 (Sup.Ct.1938......
  • Andrews v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n of Des Moines, No. 44403.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 15 Febrero 1939
    ...Moines Council Boy Scouts, 209 Iowa 1235, 229 N.W. 841;Bruce v. Y. M. C. A., 51 Nev. 372, 277 P. 798;Eads v. Y. W. C. A., 325 Mo. 577, 29 S.W.2d 701;Waldman v. Y. M. C. A., 227 Wis. 43, 277 N.W. 632;Bachman v. Y. W. C. A., 179 Wis. 178, 191 N.W. 751, 30 A.L.R. 448;Averback v. Y. M. C. A., 2......
  • Sessions v. Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital Ass'n, 5907
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • 25 Abril 1938
    ...11 Ann. Cas. 150; Mississippi: Eastman Gardiner Co. v. Permenter, 111 Miss. 813, 72 So. 234; Missouri: Eads v. Y. W. C. A., 325 Mo. 577, 29 S.W.2d 701; Hope v. Barnes Hospital, 227 Mo.App. 1055, 55 S.W.2d 319; Nevada: Bruce v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n, 51 Nev. 372, 277 P. 798; New Hampsh......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • President and Dir. of Georgetown College v. Hughes, No. 7761.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 30 Junio 1942
    ...General Hospital, 1876, 120 Mass. 432, 21 Am.Rep. 529 (patient). Missouri: Eads v. Young Women's Christian Ass'n, 1930, 325 Mo. 577, 29 S.W.2d 701 (employee); Roberts v. Kirksville College, Mo.App.1929, 16 S. W.2d 625 (paying patient). Oregon: Hill v. President and Trustees of Tualatin Acad......
  • Miller v. Muscarelle, No. A--551
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • 1 Mayo 1961
    ...County Agricultural Soc., 115 Neb. 579, 213 N.W. 966, 52 A.L.R. 1393 (Sup.Ct.1927); Eads v. Young Women's Christian Ass'n, 325 Mo. 577, 29 S.W.2d 701 (Sup.Ct.1930); Coffer v. Bradshaw, 46 Ga.App. 143, 167 S.E. 119 (Ct.App.1932); Montanick v. McMillin, 225 Iowa 442, 280 N.W. 608 (Sup.Ct.1938......
  • Andrews v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n of Des Moines, No. 44403.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 15 Febrero 1939
    ...Moines Council Boy Scouts, 209 Iowa 1235, 229 N.W. 841;Bruce v. Y. M. C. A., 51 Nev. 372, 277 P. 798;Eads v. Y. W. C. A., 325 Mo. 577, 29 S.W.2d 701;Waldman v. Y. M. C. A., 227 Wis. 43, 277 N.W. 632;Bachman v. Y. W. C. A., 179 Wis. 178, 191 N.W. 751, 30 A.L.R. 448;Averback v. Y. M. C. A., 2......
  • Sessions v. Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital Ass'n, 5907
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • 25 Abril 1938
    ...11 Ann. Cas. 150; Mississippi: Eastman Gardiner Co. v. Permenter, 111 Miss. 813, 72 So. 234; Missouri: Eads v. Y. W. C. A., 325 Mo. 577, 29 S.W.2d 701; Hope v. Barnes Hospital, 227 Mo.App. 1055, 55 S.W.2d 319; Nevada: Bruce v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n, 51 Nev. 372, 277 P. 798; New Hampsh......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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