Herr v. City of Lebanon

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtWILLIAMS, J.
Citation149 Pa.St. 222,24 A. 207
Decision Date16 May 1892
PartiesHERR et ux. v. City of LEBANON.
24 A. 207
149 Pa.St. 222

HERR et ux.
v.
City of LEBANON.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

May 16, 1892.


Appeal from court of common pleas, Lebanon county.

Action by Joseph Herr and Clara, his wife, against the city of Lebanon. Judgment for plaintiff. Defendant appeals. Reversed.

Frank E. Meily and W. M. Derr, for appellant.

Luther F. Houck and Grant Weidman, for appellees.

WILLIAMS, J. The plaintiff was injured by an accident happening on one of the streets of the city of Lebanon. She seeks by this action to hold the city responsible for the consequences of the accident, on the ground that the proximate cause of her injury was the negligence of the city. The circumstances are told by the driver of the omnibus in which she was a passenger, and whom she called as a witness for that purpose. He says that there were four adults besides himself in and upon the omnibus, five children, and some household goods, including a sewing machine. It was drawn by one horse. The route passed up and along the side of a hill. On the upper side of the street was a high bank. On the lower side a steep descent of several feet. There was no guard rail along the edge of the declivity. The driver describes the streets as smooth.

24 A. 208

hard, 20 feet wide, and "well piked." While ascending the hill in the middle of the roadway the horse suddenly fell. It struggled to regain its feet, but failed. Whether the weight of the load, in connection with the grade of the hill, was too much for the strength of the horse, or the horse was choked by the harness, or taken suddenly ill, no one ventures an opinion. It continued struggling until it had moved from the middle of the street to the outer edge, and then over the declivity, dragging the omnibus and its load after it. The driver was asked the question, what caused the horse to fall? He replied, "I don't know." He was then asked if the fall was not due to the fact that the horse was choked. His answer was, "I could not say." To the further question whether he could have driven safely over the road if the horse had not fallen, he said, "Yes, sir; the road was all right, but I did not have any control over him [the horse] after he was down." The jury passed upon the same question. The learned judge requested the jury to answer, with their verdict, two written questions, viz., was the city negligent in not erecting a barrier at the edge of the highway? and was the fall of the horse caused by the negligence of the city? They answered the first question, "Yes;" the second, "No." Let us accept these answers, as we should do, as correctly disposing of both questions, and as settling the fact that the city was guilty of negligence in failing to erect a barrier. It then follows that for any injury suffered by reason of the absence of the barrier, of which such absence was a proximate or efficient cause, the city would be liable. If, therefore, in the ordinary use of the street, one had been crowded over the bank by the volume of the travel, by the sudden shying of his horse, or by reason of an accumulation of ice upon the road way, the absence of the barrier might justify a recovery if the plaintiff was not guilty of contributory negligence, and so in part the author of his own misfortune. Such accidents may be said to be a probable result of the neglect complained of. If so, the city was bound to anticipate and provide against them, and its failure to do so was negligence. But the liability so incurred does not extend to all sorts of accidents upon that street; only to those of...

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18 practice notes
  • Illinois Cent. R. Co. v. Bloodworth, 30038
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • January 9, 1933
    ...Pine River Twp., 150 Mich. 381, 114 N.W. 221; Swain v. Spokane, 94 Wash. 616, 162 P. 991, L.R.A. 1917D, 754; Herr v. Lebanon, 149 Pa. 222, 24 A. 207, 16 L.R.A. 106; Thubron v. Dravo Contracting Co., 238 Pa. 442, 86 A. 292, 44 L.R.A. (N.S.) 699; Dallas v. Maxwell (Tex.), 248 S.W. 667, 27 A.L......
  • Stacy v. Williams
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
    • March 13, 1934
    ...are concurrent causes; i.e., they run together as a related significance to the same end." See Herr v. City of Lebanon, 149 Pa. 222, 24 A. 207, 16 L.R.A. 106, 34 Am. St. Rep. "An efficient cause may sometimes be better described as the primary or reasonable cause of a legal liabil......
  • Arnst v. Estes
    • United States
    • Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • September 13, 1939
    ...v. Bockius, C.C., 187 F. 382. The causes, as the word concurring signifies, run together to the same end. Herr v. Lebanon, 149 Pa. 222, 24 A. 207, 16 L.R.A. 106, 34 Am.St.Rep. 603. The term "joint tortfeasors" is misleading, to say the least. In cases such as plaintiff declares, t......
  • Birckhead v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, No. 19.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • March 8, 1938
    ...N.Y. 339, 162 N.E. 99, 100, 59 A.L.R. 1253; Hub-bell v. Yonkers, 104 N.Y. 434, 10 N.E. 858, 58 Am.Rep. 522; Herr v. Lebanon, 149 Pa. 222, 24 A. 207, 16 L.R.A. 106, 34 Am.St. Rep. 603; Kieffer v. Hummelstown, 151 Pa. 304, 24 A. 1060, 17 L.R.A. 217; Hagerstown v. Foltz, 133 Md. 52, 60, 104 A.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Illinois Cent. R. Co. v. Bloodworth, 30038
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • January 9, 1933
    ...Pine River Twp., 150 Mich. 381, 114 N.W. 221; Swain v. Spokane, 94 Wash. 616, 162 P. 991, L.R.A. 1917D, 754; Herr v. Lebanon, 149 Pa. 222, 24 A. 207, 16 L.R.A. 106; Thubron v. Dravo Contracting Co., 238 Pa. 442, 86 A. 292, 44 L.R.A. (N.S.) 699; Dallas v. Maxwell (Tex.), 248 S.W. 667, 27 A.L......
  • Stacy v. Williams
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
    • March 13, 1934
    ...are concurrent causes; i.e., they run together as a related significance to the same end." See Herr v. City of Lebanon, 149 Pa. 222, 24 A. 207, 16 L.R.A. 106, 34 Am. St. Rep. "An efficient cause may sometimes be better described as the primary or reasonable cause of a legal liabil......
  • Arnst v. Estes
    • United States
    • Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • September 13, 1939
    ...v. Bockius, C.C., 187 F. 382. The causes, as the word concurring signifies, run together to the same end. Herr v. Lebanon, 149 Pa. 222, 24 A. 207, 16 L.R.A. 106, 34 Am.St.Rep. 603. The term "joint tortfeasors" is misleading, to say the least. In cases such as plaintiff declares, t......
  • Birckhead v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, No. 19.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • March 8, 1938
    ...N.Y. 339, 162 N.E. 99, 100, 59 A.L.R. 1253; Hub-bell v. Yonkers, 104 N.Y. 434, 10 N.E. 858, 58 Am.Rep. 522; Herr v. Lebanon, 149 Pa. 222, 24 A. 207, 16 L.R.A. 106, 34 Am.St. Rep. 603; Kieffer v. Hummelstown, 151 Pa. 304, 24 A. 1060, 17 L.R.A. 217; Hagerstown v. Foltz, 133 Md. 52, 60, 104 A.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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