Martin v. Walker & Williams Mfg. Co.

Decision Date26 April 1910
Citation91 N.E. 798,198 N.Y. 324
CourtNew York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals


Appeal from Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department.

Action by William Martin, an infant, by Hermine Martin, his guardian ad litem, against the Walker & Williams Manufacturing Company. From an order of the Appellate Division (128 App. Div. 733,113 N. Y. Supp. 78) reversing a judgment on a verdict for plaintiff and granting a new trial, plaintiff appeals. Reversed, and judgment upon verdict affirmed.

See, also, 122 N. Y. Supp. 1136.

John Scanlon, for appellant.

M. H. Nellis, for respondent.


This action was brought to recover damages for personal injuries. The plaintiff was a minor, 16 years of age, in the employ of the defendant, working in its factory at Cohoes, in this state. The defendant was engaged in manufacturing cotton bats or batting, and for that purpose operated numerous machines, among which was one called the ‘garnet machine.’ This machine had a big round roller upon a shaft which was operated by a belt on the side of the machine next to the aisle, and upon this roller were wires which caught into the cotton waste as it came from the feed rollers and carried it into the machine. This roller and wires were called the ‘lickerin.’ Underneath and along the aisle was a platform 5 inches high and 2 1/2 feet wide. This platform came up next to the machine, and the evidence tended to show that there was more or less dripping of oil from the bearings of the machine upon the inner edge of the platform. At a quarter before 12, noon, of each day the machines of the defendant's plant were stopped, and it then became the duty of the employés to clean up and wipe up all the oil that had gathered about the machines, together with the waste particles of cotton that had been thrown out by the operation of the machines. It was the duty of the plaintiff, after the garnet machine had stopped running, to take waste cotton and wipe the oil from the sides of the machine. On the occasion in question he gathered up the waste and took it to the machine before it had stopped running, and as he stepped upon the platform his foot slipped, by reason of the oil that had dripped thereon, and he plunged forward striking his hand onto the machine in front of the lickerin, and had some of his fingers and a portion of his hand crushed therein. It is his contention that the oil upon the platform was covered by the small particles of cotton that had been thrown from the machine and settled upon the platform, so that as he stepped thereon he did not observe the oil underneath, and that the lickerin of the machine was not covered. It is also his contention that the foreman of the factory had directed him to gather up the waste which he needed for cleaning, and to take it to the machine before it stopped running, so that as soon as the motion of the machine stopped he could commence cleaning the machine. This contention was controverted by the testimony of the superintendent. Other evidence was given on behalf of the plaintiff, tending to show that it was entirely practicable to cover the garnet machine; that other machines of the same character in another factory had been guarded for a number of years. This also was controverted by the defendant, who claimed that they had been guarded for the purpose of preventing the flying away of fine particles of cotton, which would settle about the room and upon the floors and other machines.

The trial court, in submitting the case to the jury, charged that the plaintiff must satisfy them that he was free from contributory negligence which caused the injury. The judge also instructed the jury to the effect that the plaintiff had testified that he was directed by the foreman in charge of the room to obtain waste, and to take it upon the platform contiguous to the machine, before the bell was rung for its stopping, and to clean the machine between 11:45 and 12 o'clock, noon, of each day, that the foreman in charge had denied that he gave him such instruction, and that it became the duty of the jurors to determine who had spoken correctly with reference to the transaction, and if they found that the statement of the foreman was true that he had given him no directions to place the waste upon the platform while the machine was in motion, then their verdict should be for the defendant; but if they found that the statement of the plaintiff was correct, then it became their duty to consider the next issue presented by the evidence, and that was as to whether the...

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5 cases
  • Cincinnati, H.&D. Ry. Co. v. Armuth
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • December 19, 1913
    ...result of the neglect or omission charged. Evansville, etc., Co. v. Bailey, supra; Hartman v. Berlin, etc., Co., supra; Martin v. Walker, 198 N. Y. 324, 91 N. E. 798;Rosenbaum v. Shoffner, 98 Tenn. 624, 40 S. W. 1086; Shields v. Murdoch et al., 20 Sc. Sess. Cas. (2d Sess.) 727. It has been ......
  • Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railway Company v. Armuth
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • December 19, 1913
    ... ... (1909), 43 Ind.App. 153, 84 N.E. 549; Tucker & Dorsey ... Mfg. Co. v. Staley (1907), [180 Ind. 678] 40 ... Ind.App. 63, 80 N.E. 975; ... Hartman v. Berlin & Jones Envelope Co., ... supra; Martin v. Walker & Williams ... Mfg. Co. (1910), 198 N.Y. 324, 91 N.E. 798; ... ...
  • McClary v. Knight. ;
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • December 9, 1913
    ...v. Paper & Pulp Co., 110 Wis. 645; Klatt v. Lumber Co., 97 Wis. 641; Portland Cement Co. v. Insurance Co., 162 N. Y. 399; Martin v. Manufacturing Co., 198 N. Y. 324; Cook v. Lumber Co., 61 Wash. 118; Strode v. Box Co., 124 Mo. App. 511; Labatt Mast. & Serv., sec. 1856, p. 5979. Whether the ......
  • Eppley v. Kennedy
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • April 26, 1910
    ... ... [198 N.Y. 352]Giles, etc., Co. v. Recamier Mfg. Co., 14 Daly, 475; St. John v. Northrup, 23 Barb. 25, 30;Wall v. Buffalo ... ...
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