Miami Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Reisinger

Decision Date11 December 1953
Docket NumberCOCA-COLA
Citation68 So.2d 589
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

Dixon, DeJarnette & Bradford, Miami, for appellant.

David Lemelman, Miami, for appellee.

PARKS, Associate Justice.

This controversy arose out of the exploding of a bottle of coca cola resulting in injury to the plaintiff for which damages were sought in the lower Court against the defendants, Margaret Ann Stores, Inc. and Miami Coca-Cola Bottling Company. In the trial at the conclusion of plaintiff's testimony, upon motion of Margaret Ann Stores, a verdict was directed in its favor upon the ground that the evidence failed to prove the negligence charged in the complaint. There is no appeal from this ruling. The Coca-Cola Company, likewise, at the conclusion of plaintiff's evidence and again at the conclusion of all the evidence moved for directed verdict on the ground that there was no direct evidence sufficient to establish the negligence charged, nor was the evidence sufficient to furnish a predicate for liability against it under the res ipsa loquitur doctrine. These motions were denied and the cause submitted to the jury resulting in a verdict for the plaintiff. Motion for new trial assigning as error the denial of the motions for directed verdicts was overruled and judgment for plaintiff was entered. We review these rulings of the Court and this judgment.

Plaintiff offered no direct evidence of negligence in the proof of her case relying solely on the theory of res ipsa loquitur to establish liability against the Coca-Cola Company. It contended that plaintiff's evidence failed to show that the bottle was not improperly handled or was not accessible to extraneous harmful influences after delivery by it to Margaret Ann Super Market where the injury occurred and, therefore, res ipsa loquitur never came into play.

Concerning such defense this Court speaking through Mr. Justice Sebring in Hughs v. Miami Coca-Cola Bottling Company, 155 Fla. 299, 19 So.2d 862, 864, had this to say:

'There is no direct proof in the record of negligence on the part of the Miami Coca Cola Bottling Company. The plaintiff concedes such fact, but submits that this is a case the facts of which call for the application of the rule res ipsa loquitur, under which direct proof by plaintiff of active negligence is not necessary to require of the defendant explanation or rebuttal.

'Some of the courts of the land have applied the rule res ipsa loquitur to cases in which exploding beverage bottles have been involved, and have held the bottler liable in damages even though the agency causing the injury was not in his possession or control at the time of the accident. * * * But so far as we have been able to find from a study of the decisions, no court has ever held that recovery may be had in such cases, under the res ipsa loquitur doctrine, without an affirmative showing on the part of the plaintiff that after the bottle left the possession of the bottler it was not subjected to any unusual atmospheric changes or changes in temperature, or that it was not handled improperly up to the time of the explosion.'

And specifically concerning the modicum of proof required of plaintiff to show affirmatively that the bottle was not negligently handled after it left the custody or control of the Coca-Cola Company so as to warrant the application of res ipsa loquitur, it was said in Groves v. Florida Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Fla., 40 So.2d 128, 130:

'While it is true that the law requires an affirmative showing to be made by the injured party that due care was used in the handling of a bottled beverage after it has left the possession and control of the manufacturer before the rule of res ipsa loquitur will be applicable, the law does not require that the injured person eliminate each and every remote possiblity of injury to the bottle up to the time of the explosion. It is enough if the evidence is such as to permit a reasonable...

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8 cases
  • Ferrell v. Sikeston Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • January 26, 1959
    ...24 Cal.2d 453, 150 P.2d 436, 439; Burkett v. Panama City Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Fla., 93 So.2d 580, 582; Miami Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Reisinger, Fla., 68 So.2d 589, 590; Groves v. Florida Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Fla., 40 So.2d 128, 130(3).4 Payne v. Rome Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 10 Ga.Ap......
  • Copher v. Barbee, s. 8104
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • October 1, 1962
    ...of St. Louis, Mo.App., 232 S.W.2d 181; Joffre v. Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Inc., 122 Md. 1, 158 A.2d 631, 635-636; Miami Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Reisinger, Fla., 68 So.2d 589; Roper v. Dad's Root Beer Co., 336 Ill.App. 91, 82 N.E.2d 815; Monroe v. H. G. Hill Stores, La.App., 51 So.2d 645.3 P......
  • Dayton Tire & Rubber Co. v. Davis
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • June 29, 1977
    ...Yarbrough v. Ball U-Drive System, Inc., supra; Tampa Transit Lines, Inc. v. Corbin, 62 So.2d 10 (Fla.1952); Miami Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Reisinger, 68 So.2d 589 (Fla.1954); Martin v. Powell, 101 So.2d 610 (Fla.2d DCA 1958), cert. den., 104 So.2d 596 (Fla.1958); Kadushin v. Philmac Realty......
  • Tamiami Trail Tours v. Locke
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • November 2, 1954
    ...924; Tampa Transit Lines, Inc., v. Corbin, Fla., 62 So.2d 10; Goff v. City of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 65 So.2d 1; Miami Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Reisinger, Fla., 68 So.2d 589. A fortiori, the need is clearly disclosed in light of this court's holdings in the exploding bottle cases, where th......
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