Manley v. Wells

Decision Date14 March 1927
Docket NumberNo. 25870.,25870.
Citation292 S.W. 67
PartiesMANLEY v. WELLS et al.
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

Appeal from St. Louis Circuit Court; Robert W. Hall, Judge.

Action by Katherine Manley against Rolla Wells, receiver of the United Railways Company of St. Louis, and others. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendants appeal. Affirmed.

Charles W. Bates, T. E. Francis, and W. H. Woodward, all of St. Louis, for appellants.

Harry M. Stone, John S. Marsalek and Mark D. Eagleton, all of St. Louis, for respondent.

HIGBEE, C.

The plaintiff sued the defendant as receiver of the United Railways Company in the circuit court of the city of St. Louis for damages for personal injuries sustained by her on November 16, 1922. She had a verdict and judgment on January 23, 1924, for $15,000, and the defendant appealed. Appellant concedes that plaintiff made a submissible case, and the sole error assigned is that the verdict is excessive.

The plaintiff, a married woman in good health and 38 years of age at the time of the trial, with her mother and her nephew, aged 3 years, on November 16, 1922, were passengers on one of the defendant's street cars. The car stopped at Fourteenth and Market streets to permit them to alight. While attempting to do so, plaintiff, with the boy on her left arm, had reached the lower step, and was standing thereon on her left foot with her right foot extended. While she was in this position the car started forward, and she was thrown off and fell on her right knee and elbow, sprawling out on her right side on the street, which was paved with granite blocks. She was helped to the sidewalk by her mother and the motorman, who removed her right slipper. Her foot swelled and puffed up. Her mother helped her to another street car, and she went home. Her right foot, knee, elbow, hip, and shoulder and her back were hurt. She had a menstrual flow continually for three months. At the time of the trial she was still unable to use her, right foot, ankle, knee, or shoulder and was suffering severe pain in her right foot, extending from toes to hip and across the back. She was unable to get about without crutches, and was still under treatment by her doctor, who came to her house three times a week. Her back and hip were massaged three times a day. On account of the severe pains, which were constant, she was unable to sleep; at night she had to sit up in a chair. At the time of the trial she menstruated every two weeks. She was a nervous wreck, and had lost weight. Before falling from the car she had had no illness or nervous trouble of any sort, and had had no difficulty or pain with the parts which were injured in the accident.

Dr. R. W. Janzen testified:

"I was called to treat plaintiff on November 19, 1922. Her two small toes on the right foot, her right knee, elbow, and the right side of her back were bruised and contused, and she complained of pains in the region of her kidneys. Dr. Ernst took X-ray pictures of her right foot. At that time I applied splints and immobilized the foot to prevent further irritation to the injured parts. The right foot was swollen. The foot was immobilized for about three months due to her inability to get out of bed. She complained of that foot and of her back, and menstruated almost continuously during the time she was in bed, which caused her to become so weak she could not get out of bed. I gave medicine to stop the unusual menstruation. After the first two weeks I gave the right leg and foot passive motion. I have had her under treatment since that time. The muscles of the back, leg, and ankle have been strained. I gave her instructions to use her foot, but she cannot use it of her own accord without intense pain. I treat her about three times a week. I found no broken bones. The right thing to do is to use that foot if she can do so without undue pain to herself, so that its function will return."

Dr. Ernst testified:

"I made an X-ray picture of plaintiff's left foot, Exhibit B, on November 28, 1922; it does not show any abnormality. I also made a picture, Exhibit C, of the right foot; it shows a roughened surface of the articulation between the cuneiform and the navicular bones at the top of the foot and the bones and roughening both in the joints between those two bones and along the surface at the top of the foot. They are in the arch of the foot. Nature has provided a cartilaginous substance between the bones, and there is a lubrication to keep them moving without coming in contact with each other. There was a roughening along the articulating surface of those two bones. I took two other pictures (Plaintiff's Exhibits E and F) January 11, 1924. B is an examination of the lumbar vertebrae and the sacro-iliac joint. Immediately back of the hip bone is a joint called the sacro-iliac joint.

"Q. What does it (Exhibit E)) show by way of any abnormality? A. The roughening shows definite evidence of chronic inflammatory changes along the surfaces of these two bones, the pelvis, and the sacrum bones, and that condition is more marked on the right side; there is an increased roughening and an increased change in the bony structure of the two surfaces instead of the sacrum and the ilium being separated by soft cushion cartilage. Apparently there has been inflammation there and that has produced a roughening of those surfaces so that the outline of the sacrum and the ilium are not sharp and defined as they should be. Exhibit F is a picture of the same part of the anatomy with the addition of both hip bones. It shows exactly the same condition. Plaintiff's Exhibit A is an X-ray picture of both of her ankles taken on November 28, 1922; plaintiff's Exhibit D is an X-ray picture of the right ankle made November 25, 1922, lateral position of the foot and ankle joint. It shows a roughening of the articulating surface between the navicular and cuneiform bone and a roughening of the top surface, which is not an articulating surface, merely periosteum. The picture of the right foot shows a roughening of the `top surface; it is not a congenital irregularity; it is an acquired one. The other small bone joints are normal. The ilium is the hip bone proper; the sacrum is that part of the spine to which the hip bone is joined by means of the sacro-iliac...

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