Landini v. Steelman, 383

Citation243 N.C. 146,90 S.E.2d 377
Decision Date23 November 1955
Docket NumberNo. 383,383
PartiesLouise M. LANDINI v. William H. STEELMAN.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of North Carolina

Craige & Craige and Roger B. Hendrix, Winston-Salem, for plaintiff-appellant.

Ratcliff, Vaughn, Hudson, Ferrell & Carter, Winston-Salem, for defendant-appellee.

JOHNSON, Justice.

This is a civil action in tort to recover damages for personal injuries sustained by the plaintiff, who while crossing a street in the City of Winston-Salem on foot was hit by an automobile driven by the defendant. The trial court allowed the defendant's motion for judgment as of nonsuit at the close of the plaintiff's evidence. The appeal challenges the correctness of this ruling and brings into focus these facts disclosed by the evidence:

The plaintiff is a resident of Concord, Massachusetts. On 7 December, 1951, she was a visitor in the City of Winston-Salem on the occasion of the Piedmont Bowl football game. Her son was a member of the championship high school team from Concord which was playing a local team.

Shortly before being injured, the plaintiff had boarded a Greyhound bus at a local hotel, along with 35 to 40 other visitors from Concord, to be taken to the U. S. Armory for a barbecue given in their honor before the game. The Armory is located on the east side of Stadium Drive, which runs north and south. At about 5:50 o'clock p. m., the bus stopped on the west side of Stadium Drive, across the street from the Armory. It was cloudy and dark and the street was wet, but it was not raining. The passengers alighted and started crossing the street to enter the Armory. The plaintiff and her friend, Mrs. Lips, were the last to leave the bus. After alighting they walked around in front of the parked bus, looked first to the north and then to the south, saw no oncoming traffic in either direction, and then started walking across the street toward the Armory, at a slightly diagonal angle to the north. The street at that point is 64 feet 7 inches wide. When about two-thirds of the way across, the two ladies observed the lights of the defendant's car approaching from the south. Both attempted to get out of its way by increasing their pace toward the Armory side of the street, but both were struck before they could reach safety. The plaintiff was struck on her right back side, and sustained substantial injuries. The point of impact was 23 feet west of the east curb of Stadium Drive in front of the driveway leading to the Armory. The defendant's car came to rest about 15 feet from the east curb. Skidmarks extended back from its front wheels about 45 feet. Street lights were scattered at intervals along Stadium Drive. One was approximately 25 feet north of the curb near the driveway to the Armory. It was on the west side of the street. Other street lights were in the center of the street in either direction from the point of impact, some distance north and south.

Mrs. Elizabeth Lips testified in part: 'We went around the front end of the bus and looked both ways. The visitors from Concord had just crossed the street, and some of them had not even gotten upon the sidewalk there. * * * I would say we were going at a good pace across the street because we were all together. * * We weren't running. We were walking fast, * * * and all of a sudden I didn't know whether it was lights that slapped on, I could see a glare, and I grabbed Mrs. Landini's hand and I said, 'Come on!' But before we made it, he was immediately on us and we got hit. I don't think we took more than two steps between the time I noticed the glare of the lights and grabbed her arm, and the automobile struck Mrs. Landini. * * * He was immediately on us. He was coming fast, and that is all. * * * I don't think there was any lights on the bus. No horn was blown whatsoever before the impact. ' Cross Examination: 'When we were crossing it appeared to me he just put his lights on. * * * he must have just come over the top of the hill so fast he came on us before we could get over. * * * He wasn't there when we looked to cross the street, Sir he wasn't there, * * * but he was there mighty quick afterwards.'

Looking south from where the bus stopped, the street is straight but slightly upgrade for a distance of 250 or 300 yards to a hill crest which rises and cuts off vision of traffic beyond. The plaintiff was crossing the street at a point which was neither at an intersection nor within a marked cross-walk. She was crossing within the...

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15 cases
  • Proffitt v. Gosnell, COA17-233
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • December 19, 2017
    ...other on the pavement when she was struck by [the] defendant's car." Id. at 362, 261 S.E.2d at 667 ; see also Landini v. Steelman , 243 N.C. 146, 147, 90 S.E.2d 377, 378 (1955) (holding injured pedestrian was not contributorily negligent as a matter of law, where she looked both ways before......
  • Parker v. Windborne, 806SC328
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • January 20, 1981
    ...Blake v. Mallard, 262 N.C. 62, 136 S.E.2d 214 (1964); Holland v. Malpass, 255 N.C. 395, 121 S.E.2d 576 (1961); Landini v. Steelman, 243 N.C. 146, 90 S.E.2d 377 (1955); Garmon v. Thomas, 241 N.C. 412, 85 S.E.2d 589 (1955); Foster v. Shearin, 28 N.C.App. 51, 220 S.E.2d 179 (1975); Brooks v. S......
  • Ragland v. Moore, 789SC714
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • June 5, 1979 a jury question as to whether the speed of defendant Michael George Moore was a proximate cause of the accident. Landini v. Steelman, 243 N.C. 146, 90 S.E.2d 377 (1955). As to whether the plaintiff's failure to yield the right of way must be held contributory negligence as a matter of la......
  • Dendy v. Watkins, 65
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • November 5, 1975
    ...the motion for summary judgment may properly be granted.' Moore, Supra, § 56.15(3) at 2341. The plaintiff relies on Landini v. Steelman, 243 N.C. 146, 90 S.E.2d 377 (1955) and Bass v. Roberson, 261 N.C. 125, 134 S.E.2d 157 (1964), to sustain his position that the court erred in finding ther......
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