Greener v. Gen. Elec. Co.

Decision Date17 June 1913
Citation209 N.Y. 135,102 N.E. 527
CourtNew York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals


Appeal from Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department.

Action by Mary Greener, as administratrix, against the General Electric Company. A judgment for plaintiff and an order denying a new trial were affirmed by the Appellate Division, Third Department (153 App. Div. 439,138 N. Y. Supp. 273), and defendant appeals. Reversed and new trial granted.

James O. Carr, of Schenectady, for appellant.

Fryer & Lewis, of Schenectady, for respondent.


This action was brought to recover damages of the defendant for being the cause of the death of the plaintiff's intestate, an employé. In substance, the alleged negligence was that the defendant had provided for the use of its workmen a defective and insecure ladder, in connection with an overhead crane erected in its works, from which the deceased fell, or was thrown, to the floor of the building. The facts disclosed by the evidence were such as to warrant the jurors in finding that the deceased, who was employed as a ‘rigger,’ upon the day in question was standing on top of the carriage of the crane, when he was called to by the crane repairman, from the floor, to come down and to assist in hoisting up a piece of machinery; that, in attempting to comply with the order and to descend from his position, he stepped upon an iron ladder, extending from a crane cage, which depended from the cross-girders on which the crane carriage moved, for the purpose of reaching the lateral girders and of thus using another ladder to get to the floor; that this mode of ascending, or descending, from floor to crane was not prohibited, nor unusual; that the crane ladder, which was bolted to the floor and to the top of the crane carriage, and extended some three or four feet above it, unattached, was inadequate to the strain of the weight of the deceased, when subjected to it on this occasion; that it had bent under him, throwing him to the floor; and that, as the result of injuries then received, he had subsequently died.

Without otherwise referring to the evidence, we think that the judgment appealed from might stand, were it not for a serious error committed by the trial court in the reception in evidence of a declaration of the deceased, made to a fellow workman after his fall, and which may have influenced the decision by the jurors of the question of fact. Whatever we may consider to have been the sufficiency of the other evidence, we could, and should, not assume that a declaration, made under such circumstances, may not have had its effect upon the jurors' minds. A witness, also employed as a ‘rigger,’ and who was standing a few feet away from where the deceased had fallen, went over to him, and, as he lay there, ‘asked him what had happened.’ Over the objection of the defendant, he was then allowed to state what the deceased said, and an exception was taken to the ruling. The witness testified: ‘When I asked him what had happened, he...

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14 cases
  • Butler v. Anaconda Copper Mining Co.
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • May 24, 1928
    ... ... Reck v. Whittlesberger, 181 Mich. 463, 148 N.W. 247, ... 52 L. R. A., N. S., 930; Greener v. General Electric ... Co., 209 N.Y. 135, 102 N.E. 527, 46 L. R. A., N. S., ... 975; 1 ... ...
  • Schaff v. Coyle
    • United States
    • Oklahoma Supreme Court
    • January 27, 1925
    ...40 feet to the sidewalk, that his answers to questions were not admissible as a part of the res gestae. ¶45 In Greener v. General Electric Co. (N.Y.) 209 N.Y. 135, 102 N.E. 527, the statements of the deceased in response to inquiries made after falling from a ladder were not admissible as a......
  • Erickson v. Edward Rutledge Timber Co.
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • June 30, 1920
    ... ... used when defining res gestae, the statement was a narrative ... (Greener v. General Electric Co., 209 N.Y. 135, 102 ... N.E. 527, 46 L. R. A., N. S., 975; Atchison, T. & ... ...
  • Hunter v. Derby Foods, 245.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • April 8, 1940 the discretion of the trial judge. Waldele v. New York Central R. Co., 95 N.Y. 274, 47 Am.Rep. 41; Greener v. General Electric Co., 209 N.Y. 135, 102 N.E. 527, 46 L.R.A.,N.S., 975; Ingersoll v. Liberty Bank, 278 N.Y. 1, 14 N. E.2d 828. But we are not required to say whether the evidence ......
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