Kull v. Ford Motor Cc.

Citation261 S.W. 734
Decision Date06 May 1924
Docket Number(No. 18536.)
CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)

Appeal from St. Louis Circuit Court; William H. Killoren, Judge.

"Not to be officially published."

Action by Karl E. Kull against the Ford Motor Company. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendant appeals. Reversed and remanded.

Jones, Rocker, Sullivan & Angert, of St. Louis, for appellant.

Luke B. Hart and Smith & Pearcy, all of St. Louis, for respondent.


This is an action for damages for personal injuries, alleged to have been sustained by plaintiff on the 26th of June, 1920, while working in the assembling department of the defendant's factory. The negligence counted upon in the petition is the failure of the defendant to provide lighting facilities sufficient to enable the plaintiff to see clearly and protect himself from fragments chipped or broken from rivets which plaintiff was required to use in the performance of his work for defendant. There was another charge of negligence in the petition, but it is unnecessary to refer to that. The answer was a general denial, and a plea that plaintiff was negligent in continuing to work when he knew or could have known of insufficient lighting facilities, if such were insufficient. The reply was a general denial. Plaintiff recovered judgment, and defendant appeals.

Plaintiff was working on the fifth floor of the defendant's factory at the time he was injured. He had worked for this defendant for about four years prior to the time he received his injury. At the time he was injured he was engaged in riveting together parts of bodies of automobiles. He was working at a bench which was located about 20 feet east of the west wall, and 60 feet south of the north wall of the building. This bench at which he was working was about 3 feet long, and 1 or 1½ feet wide. There was what is known as a heel board resting on the steel top of the bench, and rivets were placed through the heel board, and protruded through about one-eighth of an inch. The head of the rivet rested on the bench. With his left hand plaintiff held an upright side piece, and with his right hand he held a small hammer, with which he struck the rivets. At the time plaintiff was injured he had placed three rivets through the holes, and had already riveted one of them. While striking the top of the rivet nearest the upright piece, which he held in his left hand, a small piece of the rivet flew up and struck him in the eye, causing an almost total loss of the sight. In striking this rivet with the hammer, in order that he would not strike the upright piece, which he held in his left hand, he would tilt the hammer at an angle and strike down and slightly inward, or what might be termed a slanting blow. The plaintiff describes it as a glancing blow which he struck, but an examination of his testimony, we think, reveals the fact that he means a slanting blow, or a blow with the hammer at an angle, instead of straight down.

The room in which plaintiff was working had been provided with natural light, but at that time parts of automobile bodies were piled almost to the top of the room, or within about a foot of the ceiling, and almost entirely cut off the natural light from the windows of the building. On another side of the room there was a pile of stock extending about 7 feet high, and on another side a pile of body stock about the same height. There was a rectangular space in this room. There was a cluster for lights on the ceiling, which was about 14 feet high; in fact, there were two clusters. But these clusters had only one globe each. Plaintiff testified that he could see the rivet, but could not see it distinctly or clearly. Plaintiff had complained about the light before the accident. It appears that, when he struck this rivet, he hit it in such a manner that his hammer glanced off, and the small particle from the rivet struck him in the eye. There is positive testimony, also, that it was due to the manner in which the rivet was struck that the particle was caused to strike plaintiff's eye.

The defendant urges only two grounds for reversal in this court. The first is that the evidence does not disclose that the failure of the defendant to provide proper lighting facilities was the proximate cause of plaintiff's injuries; it being insisted that plaintiff struck the kind of blow he intended to strike, and therefore he would have been injured, even if there had been proper light. The second reason urged for reversal is that the court erred in permitting counsel for plaintiff to make improper argument to the jury.

We will refer first to the question of whether or not there was sufficient evidence to take the case to the jury on the first assignment. Defendant insists there was not and cites as one of the authorities for this contention the case of Anderson v. Forrester-Nace Box Co., 103 Mo. App. 382, 77 S. W. 486. The court held there that the charge in plaintiff's petition that the place where he was at work was too dark was eliminated from the case by plaintiff's own testimony; that, while plaintiff testified that he could barely see the face of the hatchet he was using and the nail, he held the nail while he...

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22 cases
  • Mooney v. Terminal Railroad Association, 38122.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • January 3, 1944
    ...can be submitted to you as a question of fact for the jury to be passed... ." McGowan v. Wells, 24 S.W. (2d) 633; Kull v. Ford Motor Co., 261 S.W. 734. (13) Because respondent's counsel's argument was a viciously unfair attack upon his own witnesses, which created an "atmosphere of hostilit......
  • McGowan v. Wells
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • February 3, 1930
    ...in telling the jury, in substance, that if plaintiff had not made a case the court would have taken the case from the jury. Kull v. Ford Motor Co., 261 S.W. 736; v. City of Cameron, 213 Mo. 350, 18 L. R. A. (N. S.) 320; State ex rel. v. Claudius, 1 Mo.App. 551; Williams v. Taxicab Co., 241 ......
  • Mooney v. Terminal R. Ass'n of St. Louis
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • January 3, 1944
    ... ... " McGowan v. Wells, 24 S.W.2d 633; Kull v. Ford ... Motor Co., 261 S.W. 734. (13) Because respondent's ... counsel's argument was a ... ...
  • Sullivan v. St. L.-S.F. Railway Co.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • December 31, 1928
    ...Such argument found its logical result in a swollen verdict. Neff v. Cameron, 213 Mo. 369; Chawkley v. Railway, 297 S.W. 30; Kull v. Ford Motor Co., 261 S.W. 736; Lessenden v. Railroad, 238 Mo. 247. (6) The verdict is grossly excessive, and is the result of prejudice and bias on the part of......
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