Mundy v. Warren, No. 59726

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtConsidered by MOORE; UHLENHOPP
PartiesLloyd A. MUNDY, Appellant, v. Frank WARREN and Joanne Warren, Appellants, and Hoak Construction Company, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 59726
Decision Date26 July 1978

Page 213

268 N.W.2d 213
Lloyd A. MUNDY, Appellant,
v.
Frank WARREN and Joanne Warren, Appellants,
and
Hoak Construction Company, Appellee.
No. 59726.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
July 26, 1978.

Page 215

Patterson, Lorentzen, Duffield, Timmons, Irish & Becker, by Robin L. Hermann, Des Moines, for appellant Mundy.

Grefe & Sidney, by Henry A. Harmon, Des Moines, for appellants Warren.

Hansen, Wheatcraft & McClintock, by William D. Scherle, Des Moines, for appellee.

Considered by MOORE, C. J., and RAWLINGS, UHLENHOPP, HARRIS and McCORMICK, JJ.

UHLENHOPP, Justice.

This review of an Iowa Court of Appeals decision involves the interrelated negligence charges of failure to cover and failure to warn with respect to an open manhole.

Defendants Frank and Joanne Warren built an apartment complex as owners. They contracted with separate firms for construction of various parts of the work. One contractor was defendant Hoak Construction Company, which performed the drain, sanitary, and storm sewer work. Another contractor was Gibson Construction Company, which in turn subcontracted with Riddley Construction Company to perform concrete work. Plaintiff Lloyd A. Mundy worked for Riddley as an employee.

Hoak constructed an intake manhole at a junction of storm sewer lines. The manhole covers had not yet arrived from Hoak's supplier, and Hoak left the manhole uncovered. About eight inches of the intake pipe protruded above ground. About one to two feet from the pipe, a mound of earth approximately one to two feet high surrounded the manhole.

Mundy, walking toward a place at which the Riddley crew was about to pour concrete, fell into the open manhole and sustained injuries. He sued Warrens and Hoak. The jury found for Warrens but allowed Mundy damages of Hoak. On Hoak's motion, the trial court granted a new trial as to all parties. Mundy appealed, objecting to the new trial ordered between him and Hoak, and Warrens appealed, objecting to the new trial ordered between Mundy and them.

We transferred the appeal to the Court of Appeals. That court reversed, reinstated Mundy's original judgment against Hoak, and upheld the original judgment in favor of Warrens.

Hoak applied to us for further review. Mundy and Warrens resisted. We granted the application.

In this court Hoak presents two main contentions: the Court of Appeals erred in holding (1) the trial court's instructions proper which separately submitted against Hoak failure to cover and failure to warn and (2) Hoak lacks standing to challenge a jury instruction allegedly favorable to Warrens.

I. Instructions Against Hoak. That Mundy was an invitee on the premises is beyond dispute. The trial court told the jury in its marshalling instruction that in order for Mundy to recover from Hoak, Mundy had to establish, inter alia, Hoak was negligent in one or more of the particulars alleged. The court then submitted two

Page 216

such particulars with respect to Hoak failure to cover the manhole and failure to warn of the uncovered manhole. In Instruction 10 the court told the jury:

Plaintiff alleges defendant Hoak Construction Company was negligent in failing to place a protective cover over the open manhole so as to make it reasonably safe.

Defendant Hoak Construction Company owed to employees of other subcontractors the duty of exercising ordinary care under the circumstances for their safety so as to avoid unreasonable risk of harm.

If plaintiff has established by a preponderance of the evidence:

(1) That at the time and place here involved and as claimed by plaintiff, said defendant by its employees had left open a manhole;

(2) That under the circumstances then present the exercise of ordinary care for the safety of employees of subcontractors other than Hoak Construction Company so as to avoid unreasonable risk of harm required that a protective cover be placed over the manhole;

(3) That defendant Hoak Construction Company failed to exercise reasonable care to place or have placed a protective cover over the open manhole;

then such failure, if any, would be negligence on the part of defendant Hoak Construction Company.

In Instruction 11 the court told the jury:

Plaintiff alleges defendant Hoak Construction Company was negligent in failing to exercise reasonable care to warn plaintiff of the presence of the open manhole.

Defendant Hoak Construction Company owed to employees of other subcontractors the duty of exercising ordinary care under the circumstances for their safety so as to avoid unreasonable risk of harm.

If plaintiff has established by a preponderance of the evidence:

(1) That at the time and place here involved and as claimed by plaintiff, said defendant by its employees had left open a manhole;

(2) That under the circumstances then present the exercise of ordinary care for the safety of employees of subcontractors other than Hoak Construction Company so as to avoid unreasonable risk of harm required that a warning be given of the existence of the open manhole;

(3) That defendant Hoak Construction Company failed to exercise reasonable care to give a warning of the existence of the open manhole;

then such failure, if any, would be negligence on the part of defendant Hoak Construction Company.

Hoak contended throughout that he had a duty to guard or warn, but the instructions permitted the jury to find two duties, guard and warn. In granting Hoak a new trial, the trial court accepted Hoak's contention. In reversing the grant of a new trial, the Court of Appeals rejected Hoak's contention. Which view is right?

Preliminarily we note that since the court granted a new trial on allegedly erroneous instructions, our problem is not whether the trial court abused its discretion but whether the challenged instructions are legally erroneous. Harris v. Clark, 251 Iowa 807, 103 N.W.2d 215; In re Estate of Murray, 238 Iowa 112, 26 N.W.2d 58.

In recent years this court has applied principles restated by the American Law Institute regarding tort liability for hazardous conditions on land. E. g., Atherton v....

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17 practice notes
  • Brewster v. US, No. 4-91-CV-30702.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • August 17, 1994
    ...(Iowa 1988); see Hanson v. Town & Country Shopping Ctr., 259 Iowa 542, 546-49, 144 N.W.2d 870, 873-75 (1966); see also Mundy v. Warren, 268 N.W.2d 213, 217 (Iowa 1978).s facilities, including its automatic doors in a reasonably safe condition and to warn her of hidden dangers or unsafe cond......
  • Bierkamp v. Rogers, No. 63797
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 18, 1980
    ...out the automobile guest for treatment different from guests in other conveyances or in other locations. See, e. g., Mundy v. Warren, 268 N.W.2d 213, 218 (Iowa 1978) (duty of reasonable conduct owed to Aside from the practical limitation on the effectiveness of guest statutes in affecting c......
  • Stover v. Lakeland Square Owners Ass'n, No. 87-1265
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 25, 1989
    ...a landowner's duty to invitees. See Byers v. Contemporary Inds. Midwest, Inc., 419 N.W.2d 396, 397 (Iowa 1988); Mundy v. Warren, 268 N.W.2d 213, 217 (Iowa 1978); Hanson v. Town and Country Shopping Center, Inc., 259 Iowa 542, 546-49, 144 N.W.2d 870, 873-75 (1966). Generally, these principle......
  • Manning v. Engelkes, No. 62521
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 27, 1979
    ...108 N.W. 239 (1906) (certiorari not granted and action of inferior tribunal not annulled absent showing of prejudice); Mundy v. Warren, 268 N.W.2d 213, 218 (Iowa 1978) (no standing to appeal alleged instructional error against co-defendant absent showing of prejudice). See generally 14 Am.J......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Brewster v. US, No. 4-91-CV-30702.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • August 17, 1994
    ...(Iowa 1988); see Hanson v. Town & Country Shopping Ctr., 259 Iowa 542, 546-49, 144 N.W.2d 870, 873-75 (1966); see also Mundy v. Warren, 268 N.W.2d 213, 217 (Iowa 1978).s facilities, including its automatic doors in a reasonably safe condition and to warn her of hidden dangers or unsafe cond......
  • Bierkamp v. Rogers, No. 63797
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 18, 1980
    ...out the automobile guest for treatment different from guests in other conveyances or in other locations. See, e. g., Mundy v. Warren, 268 N.W.2d 213, 218 (Iowa 1978) (duty of reasonable conduct owed to Aside from the practical limitation on the effectiveness of guest statutes in affecting c......
  • Stover v. Lakeland Square Owners Ass'n, No. 87-1265
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 25, 1989
    ...a landowner's duty to invitees. See Byers v. Contemporary Inds. Midwest, Inc., 419 N.W.2d 396, 397 (Iowa 1988); Mundy v. Warren, 268 N.W.2d 213, 217 (Iowa 1978); Hanson v. Town and Country Shopping Center, Inc., 259 Iowa 542, 546-49, 144 N.W.2d 870, 873-75 (1966). Generally, these principle......
  • Manning v. Engelkes, No. 62521
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 27, 1979
    ...108 N.W. 239 (1906) (certiorari not granted and action of inferior tribunal not annulled absent showing of prejudice); Mundy v. Warren, 268 N.W.2d 213, 218 (Iowa 1978) (no standing to appeal alleged instructional error against co-defendant absent showing of prejudice). See generally 14 Am.J......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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