McDonell v. Brozo, 60.

Decision Date06 June 1938
Docket NumberNo. 60.,60.
Citation285 Mich. 38,280 N.W. 100
PartiesMcDONELL v. BROZO et al. (two cases).
CourtMichigan Supreme Court


Actions by Daniel J. McDonell and Mabel McDonell against John F. Brozo and others to recover for injuries, and to recover for loss of services and for expenses incurred, respectively. Judgments for defendants, and plaintiffs appeal.


Appeal from Circuit Court, Wayne County; Adolph F. Marschner, judge.

Argued before the Entire Bench.

Eugene P. Berry and Donald F. Welday, both of Detroit, for appellants.

Clarence E. Page and Stephen J. Carey, both of Detroit, for appellees.

NORTH, Justice.

These consolidated actions were brought by Mabel McDonell to recover for injuries suffered and by her husband, Daniel J. McDonell, to recover for the loss of services of his wife and for expenses incurred. On October 11, 1934, Mrs. McDonell was walking west on a public sidewalk in front of Neinas Intermediate School in Detroit. When she had reached the center of the block she was struck from behind and thrown to the sidewalk. She suffered severe injuries to her foot, ankle and back. The accident was caused by Steve Krupansky, a pupil at the school, who was running a 100 yard dash when he struck Mrs. McDonell. Mr. Hadcock, in charge of health education at the school, had sent the boys out on the sidewalk for their races because there was insufficient room in the building or on the school grounds. These trials were held during the health education hour, and were a part of the physical aspect of the educational program. When Hadcock sent the boys out he remained inside but Jack Brozo, a both attendant, accompanied them for the purpose of supervision.

While these trials were being run no barrier was erected nor any warning given to pedestrians on the walk. But several of the pupils testified that Hadcock had told them not to run when there were other people on the sidewalk, and Krupansky was present when such instructions were given. When the timer gave the signal for the race to start, he did not see Mrs. McDonell, but Leo Powers, the running mate of Krupansky saw her. Powers testified that when they started to run Mrs. McDonell was about 50 yards ahead of them and that he intended to run around her. Steve Krupansky testified that at the time the signal was given he noticed Mrs. McDonell on the street. He watched her as he was running towards her and when he was 15 or 20 feet from her he started to slow up so that Powers would get ahead of him. But instead of stopping or running off the sidewalk, Krupansky, knowing that Mrs. McDonell was in front of him, continued on his course and made no earnest effort to avoid her. He testified:

‘Notwithstanding the fact that Mrs. McDonell was in my path, I continued to run, and I hit her. * * * I could have avoided hitting her by stopping running.'

Mr. Brozo had told the timer to wait but the timer gave the signal for the runners to start, then looked up and saw the woman. The timer stated that Mr. Brozo saw her and then yelled at him. But the warnings either came too late or were not heeded.

The plaintiffs seek recovery from the board of education of the city of Detroit, John F. Brozo, school bath attendant, Percy W. Hadcock, director of health education, and John F. Grant, school principal. Trial was without a jury. From judgments for defendants, plaintiffs appeal.

Plaintiffs recognize the rule that in the absence of a statute a school district while engaged in a governmental function is not liable for the negligence of its employees and officers. Daniels v. Board of Education, 191 Mich. 339, 158 N.W. 23, L.R.A.1916F, 468. But plaintiffs rely on Ferris v. Board of Education, 122 Mich. 315, 81 N.W. 98, and contend that their cases fall within the rule stated therein. They point out that in the Daniels Case the injury occurred on the school premises while in the Ferris Case the trespass and injury did not occur on school property. But the fact that the accident happened outside of the premises of the school does not necessarily cause the school district to lose its immunity. In Carlo v. Scranton School District, 319 Pa. 417, 179 A. 561, a flagstaff, located on the school premises, because of its ‘defective, rusted, and weakened condition,’ fell upon a boy walking on a public sidewalk. The court held there was no liability on the school district. In McKenna v. Kimball, et al., 145 Mass. 555, 14 N.E. 789, the defendants, the school committee, employed others to cut down a tree which was standing on school property. The workmen were negligent and the tree fell upon plaintiff who was on the street. The Massachusetts court held the defendants, in ordering the removal of the tree, were acting as public officers in...

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  • Ross v. Consumers Power Co.
    • United States
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    ...of Ed., 191 Mich. 339, 158 N.W. 23 (1916); Robinson v. Washtenaw Circuit Judge, 228 Mich. 225, 199 N.W. 618 (1924); McDonnell v. Brozo, 285 Mich. 38, 280 N.W. 100 (1938). See also Pound v. Garden City School Dist., 372 Mich. 499, 127 N.W.2d 390 (1964); McCann v. State of Michigan, 398 Mich.......
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    ...458, 461-462, 76 N.W. 70 (1898). See also, Morse v. Liquor Control Commission, 319 Mich. 52, 29 N.W.2d 316 (1947); McDonell v. Brozo, 285 Mich. 38, 280 N.W. 100 (1938), and Lepire v. Klenk, 169 Mich. 243, 134 N.W. 1119 (1912). A plaintiff seeking to establish liability against a defendant o......
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    ...Mich. 263, 118 N.W.2d 271.24 Pound v. Garden City School District (1964), 372 Mich. 499, 127 N.W.2d 390. But, see McDonell v. Brozo (1938), 285 Mich. 38, 43, 280 N.W. 100.25 See Baum, Governmental Immunity in Michigan--Some Recent Developments, 44 Mich.St.B.J. 37, 44 (1965).26 See Smith v. ......
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