Jones v. Hotchkiss

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtVALLEE; PARKER WOOD; SHINN
Citation305 P.2d 129,147 Cal.App.2d 197
PartiesJulia JONES and John Jones, Husband and Wife, Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. S. W. HOTCHKISS and Mrs. S. W. Hotchkiss, Defendants and Respondents. Civ. 21776.
Decision Date26 December 1956

Page 129

305 P.2d 129
147 Cal.App.2d 197
Julia JONES and John Jones, Husband and Wife, Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
S. W. HOTCHKISS and Mrs. S. W. Hotchkiss, Defendants and Respondents.
Civ. 21776.
District Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 3, California.
Dec. 26, 1956.

[147 Cal.App.2d 198] S. M. Dana, Beverly Hills, for appellants.

Crider, Tilson & Ruppe and Jerome M. Budinger, Los Angeles, for respondents.

Page 130

VALLEE, Justice.

Appeal by plaintiffs from a judgment of nonsuit in an action for damages for personal injuries sustained by plaintiff Julia Jones when she slipped and fell on the floor of the service porch in defendants' residence.

The complaint alleged that plaintiff Julia Jones was employed by defendants as a day houseworker on their premises; defendants 'placed and permitted to remain thereupon sawdust and/or other foreign substances which maintained a dangerous condition' on the premises; as a proximate result plaintiff slipped and fell while in the performance of her duties.

It appears to be conceded that Julia Jones was an invitee of defendants and that they were under a duty to exercise ordinary care to maintain the floor of the service porch in a reasonably safe condition.

Plaintiff Julia Jones was employed intermittently by defendants from 1949 to September 21, 1953. On direct, she testified: She worked four days a week for defendants. On September 21, 1953 she was doing cleaning and laundry work.

'Q. Before the accident occurred on the service porch, did you have any other occasion to go to the service porch? A. No, sir, no, sir. * * *

'Q. Will you tell us, please, how you got onto the service porch that day? A. Well, after I finished all in the house, I came on out, on through the kitchen, out on the service porch, picked up the trash cans to take them on out to the incinerator. * * *

'Q. Did you have anything in your hands? A. Not when I went on out, no, sir.

'Q. When did you take the cans in your hands? A. After I got out on the service porch I picked up the trash cans.

'Q. You picked up the trash cans and you went out to the back? A. Yes, sir. * * *

'Q. Did you take the trash to the back? A. Yes, sir.

'Q. In going to the back, were you on any particular pavement or concrete or stones or were you on grass or what were you actually walking on to go from the service porch to the incinerator? A. When you come off the service porch [147 Cal.App.2d 199] it is concrete. They have little concrete steps to go down, then you are on gravel to the incinerator.

'Q. Did you empty the wastebaskets in the incinerator? A. Yes, sir.

'Q. Did you return to the service porch? A. Yes, sir. * * *

'Q. As you were walking into the service porch, did something happen? A. Yes, sir.

'Q. Tell me there what happened. A. Well, my left feet [sic] slipped out from under me.

'Q. Go ahead. A. And I fell. My left feet [sic] skid out from under me and I fell, fell back.

'Q. When you fell, did you fall onto the ground? A. Yes, onto the floor. * * *

'Q. * * * Now, after you fell did you notice the ground--the floor on which you fell? A. No, sir, I didn't pay any attention, much attention to the floor.

'Q. You didn't pay any attention to the floor itself? A. No, sir.

'Q. Did you notice anything on your clothes that apparently came from the floor? A. Yes, sir, after I had gotten up and gotten--they taken me, I notice that little fine stuff was on my uniform.

'Q. What do you mean? A. Little fine sawdust that come from the machine of Mr. Hotchkiss', little fine stuff.

'Q. You say that was on your uniform? A. Yes, sir.

'Q. What portions of your uniform did you notice this on? A. This little part here, this big part is where I noticed it (indicating).

'Q. Did you notice anything at all on the floor, such as mud, sticks, stones, anything like that? A. No, sir. * * *

Page 131

'Q. Incidentally, after the accident happened, Mr. Hotchkiss and Mrs. Hotchkiss were both in the house? A. Yes, sir.

'Q. Was there anything said about the accident or the service porch or the sawdust after the accident happened? A. Well, Mrs. Hotchkiss mentioned once that--said that she was going to have Mr. Hotchkiss move his machine in the garage because that sawdust kept the floor slippery and somebody was going to get hurt.'

On cross, plaintiff Julia Jones testified that in going through the service porch on her way to the incinerator she did not look at or pay any attention to the floor.

'Q. How about coming back in before you had your fall, let's take it just as you are about to step into the door, go back onto the service porch, did you look to see if there was anything on the floor in front of you? A. No, sir, I didn't even look there, I didn't even pay any attention to the floor, I had the pail in my hand.

'Q. How many steps would you say you took from the time you entered the door until you had your fall? A. I would say I took about three--about three steps, I would say.

'Q. And were you going back the same way that you had come out? A. Yes, sir.

'Q. You were going back [147 Cal.App.2d 200] over the same path that you used before? A. Yes, sir, I was going back toward the kitchen.

'Q. On the time that you were walking out with the baskets had you slipped? A. Did I slip?

'Q. When you were walking out with the baskets did you slip? A. No, sir. * * *

'Q. Did you notice anything unusual at all about the floor as you walked out with the baskets? A. No, sir.

'Q. It didn't feel slippery, did it? A. I wasn't paying any attention, I didn't pay any attention, I just wasn't paying any attention to the floor.

'Q. Then as you took those first three steps before you had your fall, you didn't notice anything unusual about the floor, during those three steps, did you? A. No, sir.

'Q. And you never did either before or after the accident see anything on the floor itself, did you? A. Well, no, sir, I didn't, no, sir. In fact, I didn't look and after I had the accident I was hurting so I didn't pay any attention to the floor.'

Defendant Margareta W. Hotchkiss, called by plaintiffs, testified Julia was employed as a cleaning maid; there was a 'Delta' power tool on the service porch; her husband used it primarily on holidays and nights after work;

'Q. Did this Delta power tool give off any debris, sawdust, shavings or the like? A. When in use, yes, sir.

'Q. Did it give off sawdust? A. Depending on the type of work being done, yes, sir.

'Q. If he were sawing wood, would it give off sawdust? A. I believe so.

'Q. Had you observed sawdust on the floor of the service porch when he was working? A. Yes, sir. * * *

'Q. Now, there were occasions before September 21, '53, when this Delta tool was used, were there not? A. Yes.'

Defendant W. S. Hotchkiss, called by plaintiffs, testified he was at home at the time of the accident;

'Q. Did you help Mrs. Jones to her feet? A. Yes.

'Q. After you helped her to her feet, did you notice any mud or debris or pebbles or anything of that sort on the floor? A. No.

'Q. As you walked out the service porch to the incinerator is there a pathway of some sort to walk on? A. No, there is no path; there is concrete slab which abuts on the outside of the door.

'Q. Would you be walking on any mud or grass or oil as you went out to the incinerator and returned? A. No.

'Q. On the service porch there was a mechanical--that's a bad word--there is a kind of a work bench? A. Yes.

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18 practice notes
  • Ross v. DeMond
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 20, 1966
    ...760, 763 and 769, 9 Cal.Rptr. 831; Cain v. Friend (1959) 171 Cal.App.2d 806, 808 and 809-810, 341 P.2d 753; Jones v. Hotchkiss (1956) 147 Cal.App.2d 197, 201-202, 204 and 205, 305 P.2d 129, Shinn, P. J., concurring; Laidlaw v. Perozzi (1955) 130 Cal.App.2d 169, 175, 278 P.2d 523; Ralph v. C......
  • Agnew v. Parks
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 10, 1959
    ...it is well settled that where there is a doubt in the court's mind the case should be submitted to the jury (Jones v. Hotchkiss, 147 Cal.App.2d 197, 305 P.2d 129). As to proof of a combination linking all defendants, a conspiracy to defraud may be inferred from indirect and circumstantial e......
  • Guillory v. American President Lines, Limited
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 20, 1964
    ...appellant. [Citations.]'' (Golceff v. Sugarman (1950) 36 Cal.2d 152, 152-153, 222 P.2d 665, 666.) (See also Jones v. Hotchkiss (1956) 147 Cal.App.2d 197, 201-202, 204-205, 305 P.2d 129, concurring opinion; Seneris v. Haas (1955) 45 Cal.2d 811, 821, 291 P.2d 915, 53 A.L.R.2d A motion for non......
  • Farrier v. Levin
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 30, 1959
    ...from a series of proven facts.' Hatfield v. Levy Brothers, supra, 18 Cal.2d at page 805, 117 P.2d at page 845; Jones v. Hotchkiss, 147 Cal.App.2d 197, 202, 305 P.2d 129. Whether a dangerous condition had existed long enough for a reasonably prudent person to have discovered the peril is a q......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Ross v. DeMond
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 20, 1966
    ...760, 763 and 769, 9 Cal.Rptr. 831; Cain v. Friend (1959) 171 Cal.App.2d 806, 808 and 809-810, 341 P.2d 753; Jones v. Hotchkiss (1956) 147 Cal.App.2d 197, 201-202, 204 and 205, 305 P.2d 129, Shinn, P. J., concurring; Laidlaw v. Perozzi (1955) 130 Cal.App.2d 169, 175, 278 P.2d 523; Ralph v. C......
  • Agnew v. Parks
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 10, 1959
    ...it is well settled that where there is a doubt in the court's mind the case should be submitted to the jury (Jones v. Hotchkiss, 147 Cal.App.2d 197, 305 P.2d 129). As to proof of a combination linking all defendants, a conspiracy to defraud may be inferred from indirect and circumstantial e......
  • Guillory v. American President Lines, Limited
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 20, 1964
    ...appellant. [Citations.]'' (Golceff v. Sugarman (1950) 36 Cal.2d 152, 152-153, 222 P.2d 665, 666.) (See also Jones v. Hotchkiss (1956) 147 Cal.App.2d 197, 201-202, 204-205, 305 P.2d 129, concurring opinion; Seneris v. Haas (1955) 45 Cal.2d 811, 821, 291 P.2d 915, 53 A.L.R.2d A motion for non......
  • Farrier v. Levin
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 30, 1959
    ...from a series of proven facts.' Hatfield v. Levy Brothers, supra, 18 Cal.2d at page 805, 117 P.2d at page 845; Jones v. Hotchkiss, 147 Cal.App.2d 197, 202, 305 P.2d 129. Whether a dangerous condition had existed long enough for a reasonably prudent person to have discovered the peril is a q......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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