Kanipe v. Grundy Cnty. Rural Elec. Co-Op, No. 45734.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtSTIGER
Citation231 Iowa 187,300 N.W. 662
Docket NumberNo. 45734.
Decision Date18 November 1941
PartiesKANIPE v. GRUNDY COUNTY RURAL ELECTRIC CO-OP.

231 Iowa 187
300 N.W. 662

KANIPE
v.
GRUNDY COUNTY RURAL ELECTRIC CO-OP.

No. 45734.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

Nov. 18, 1941.


Appeal from District Court, Grundy County; George W. Wood, Judge.

A suit for damages, plaintiff claiming her husband's death was caused by the negligence of defendant. Verdict and judgment for plaintiff. Defendant appealed.

Affirmed.

[300 N.W. 663]

Hallagan, Fountain, Steward & Cless, of Des Moines, and Willoughby, Strack & Sieverding, of Grundy Center, for appellant.

O. H. Allbee, of Marshalltown, Bordewick & Powell, of Traer, and J. W. Tobin, of Vinton, for appellee.


STIGER, Justice.

About two o'clock on the afternoon of April 7, 1939, plaintiff's husband, Chester A. Kanipe, an employee of the Cento Construction Company, was killed by contact with a live wire on an electric highline of defendant.

The Cento Construction Company, as an independent contractor, had constructed several miles of defendant's electric system. It appears defendant had accepted the project built by Cento Construction Company and was furnishing electricity to its customers several days prior to the death of Mr. Kanipe.

There were sags in the electric wires at several places on the line and it was the duty of the construction company to tighten loose wires to the proper tension under its contract to complete the work in a workman-like manner, otherwise, so far as shown by the record, the project had been completed.

Otto Tennant was the general maintenance man for defendant. His duties were to keep its lines in operation and repair.

[300 N.W. 664]

One of the important issues in the case is whether Tennant, at the time of the death of Kanipe, was an employee of defendant or a loaned or special employee of the construction company.

Plaintiff charged in her petition that Tennant, an employee of defendant, was negligent: First, in turning on the electricity on the wires upon which Chester A. Kanipe was working, when Tennant knew, or by the exercise of proper care should have known, that the deceased was working on the said wires. Second, in failing to warn the deceased of the fact that Tennant was re-energizing the line with a powerful current of electricity.

Defendant has presented three propositions on which it relies for reversal, all of which are based on the alleged error of the court in overruling its motion for a directed verdict. Defendant's assignments of error are: 1. Otto Tennant was a loaned or special employee of the Cento Construction Company on April 7, 1939, and was not an employee of defendant at the time Mr. Kanipe received his injuries. 2. There is no evidence from which the jury could find the defendant or its employees were negligent. 3. Plaintiff's decedent was guilty of contributory negligence.

The following evidence is material to the questions presented for decision on this appeal: In the evening of April 6, 1939, Mr. Cento went to the office of defendant and told Tennant that the wires had to be resagged at three places on the line, two of which were northeast of Gladbrook and one west of Gladbrook, and asked him whether he would be available the next day to cut off the current at the three places so his crew could tighten the wires. Tennant replied that he would be available and was told where he should meet Cento's workmen the next morning. Before leaving the next morning R. F. Cramer, superintendent of defendant co-operative, gave Tennant authority to de-energize the line as requested by Cento. Mr. Cramer testified: “Mr. Tennant stated that Mr. C. R. Cento who is the contractor for building of the line under his contract had asked him to go out and de-energize the line for the crew that he was sending out to resag this wire. I asked Mr. Tennant how many places that they had to resag and he said that there would be three on lines that had been energized. I gave Mr. Tennant permission to do that.”

Tennant met the construction crew the next morning at the appointed place. The crew consisted of Martin Conley, Patrick O'Malley and Chester Kanipe.

There were two wires on the new construction. The top wire was the live or hot wire and the bottom wire was the neutral or cold wire. On this first job northeast of Gladbrook, Tennant de-energized the line by removing the jumper from the top wire and connecting it with the neutral wire. This was done about a quarter of a mile north of where the men were to work. Tennant returned and told the crew the wire was dead, remained until the work was completed, and then replaced the jumper which re-energized the line.

At the second place at which the wires were to be resagged, Tennant cut off the current about five miles away in the same manner as at the first place. He drove back to the crew and told them he had cut off the current. Tennant then gave foreman Conley a pair of rubber gloves and a short piece of copper wire and directed him to test the wires so that he-Tennant-would be sure that he had de-energized the right line. Conley, at the direction of Tennant, made the test and found the current was off.

Tennant then left this place and when he returned the crew had gone. Tennant then patrolled this line to assure himself that the men had completed their work on this line and were not working on the wires. He then re-energized this line.

Tennant then proceeded to the third place where the wires were to be tightened to the proper tension and found the crew waiting for him. It was at the east end of this third line that Mr. Kanipe received the injuries that resulted in his death. This line, called a stub line, was about a mile and a quarter long, running east and west. Tennant met the crew about two-thirds of a mile west from the east dead end of the line. He then drove about two and a quarter miles and pulled a switch that cut off the current on this line. When he returned he told the crew the line was dead and they could go to work. He then asked Conley how long it would take to resag this line. Conley stated: “After Mr. Tennant's arrival, Mr. Tennant asked me if we were ready to go to work, and I told him we were, as soon as the line had been disconnected. Mr. Tennant said, ‘I will go up and disconnect the line for you’. He left

[300 N.W. 665]

and went west and north. We waited for him to return to tell me whether he had disconnected the line or not for us. He came from the west and told me that the line was dead, that we could go ahead and work. That was about two o'clock or possibly a few minutes after. Then Mr. Tennant asked me how long I thought that it would take. I told him I didn't know. He asked me if it would be an hour or an hour and a half and I told him I didn't know, I didn't know exactly what I had to do yet. I didn't know how long it would take me. He said, ‘Well I will be back’ and he left.” Tennant then went to Conrad for lunch. From this place where the conversation occurred, which was two-thirds...

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5 practice notes
  • Kroger v. Owen Equipment & Erection Co., No. 76-1187
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • August 16, 1977
    ...1197, 141 N.W.2d 545, 548 (1966); Anderson v. Abramson, 234 Iowa 792, 13 N.W.2d 315 (1944); Kanipe v. Grundy County Rural Electric Co-op, 231 Iowa 187, 300 N.W. 662, 665 (1941). We find no merit in the Workmen's Compensation issue as to Kroger. He was in no sense an employee of Owen, borrow......
  • Bridges v. Welzien, No. 45663.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 18, 1941
    ...v. Bedell, 203 Iowa 1194, 212 N.W. 354;McCann v. Downey, 227 Iowa 1277, 290 N.W. 690;Seleine v. Wisner, 200 Iowa 1389, 206 N.W. 130; [300 N.W. 662]Napier v. Patterson, 198 Iowa 257, 196 N.W. 73;Wolfson v. Jewett Lumber Co., 210 Iowa 244, 227 N.W. 608, 230 N.W. 336;Tigue Sales Co. v. Relianc......
  • Burr v. Apex Concrete Co., No. 2--57316
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 19, 1976
    ...v. Woolsey, 240 Iowa 450, 35 N.W.2d 584; Anderson v. Abramson, 234 Iowa 792, 13 N.W.2d 315; Kanipe v. Grundy County Rural Electric Co-op., 231 Iowa 187, 300 N.W. 662; Ash v. Century Lumber Co., 153 Iowa 523, 133 N.W. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the inference is that an emplo......
  • Crum v. Walker, No. 47708
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 14, 1950
    ...accomplish the end intended.' We find no departure from this test in our later cases. See Kanipe v. Grundy County Rural Electric Co-op., 231 Iowa 187, 300 N.W. 662; Grismore v. Consolidated Products Co., 232 Iowa 328, 5 N.W.2d 646; Anderson v. Abramson, 234 Iowa 792, 13 N.W.2d 315. See also......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Kroger v. Owen Equipment & Erection Co., No. 76-1187
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • August 16, 1977
    ...1197, 141 N.W.2d 545, 548 (1966); Anderson v. Abramson, 234 Iowa 792, 13 N.W.2d 315 (1944); Kanipe v. Grundy County Rural Electric Co-op, 231 Iowa 187, 300 N.W. 662, 665 (1941). We find no merit in the Workmen's Compensation issue as to Kroger. He was in no sense an employee of Owen, borrow......
  • Bridges v. Welzien, No. 45663.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 18, 1941
    ...v. Bedell, 203 Iowa 1194, 212 N.W. 354;McCann v. Downey, 227 Iowa 1277, 290 N.W. 690;Seleine v. Wisner, 200 Iowa 1389, 206 N.W. 130; [300 N.W. 662]Napier v. Patterson, 198 Iowa 257, 196 N.W. 73;Wolfson v. Jewett Lumber Co., 210 Iowa 244, 227 N.W. 608, 230 N.W. 336;Tigue Sales Co. v. Relianc......
  • Burr v. Apex Concrete Co., No. 2--57316
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 19, 1976
    ...v. Woolsey, 240 Iowa 450, 35 N.W.2d 584; Anderson v. Abramson, 234 Iowa 792, 13 N.W.2d 315; Kanipe v. Grundy County Rural Electric Co-op., 231 Iowa 187, 300 N.W. 662; Ash v. Century Lumber Co., 153 Iowa 523, 133 N.W. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the inference is that an emplo......
  • Crum v. Walker, No. 47708
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 14, 1950
    ...accomplish the end intended.' We find no departure from this test in our later cases. See Kanipe v. Grundy County Rural Electric Co-op., 231 Iowa 187, 300 N.W. 662; Grismore v. Consolidated Products Co., 232 Iowa 328, 5 N.W.2d 646; Anderson v. Abramson, 234 Iowa 792, 13 N.W.2d 315. See also......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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