Myers v. City of Palmyra, No. 48694

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
PartiesMarvin MYERS, Appellant, v. CITY OF PALMYRA, Missouri, a Municipal Corporation, Respondent. . Division
Decision Date12 March 1962
Docket NumberNo. 48694,No. 2

Page 17

355 S.W.2d 17
92 A.L.R.2d 791
Marvin MYERS, Appellant,
v.
CITY OF PALMYRA, Missouri, a Municipal Corporation, Respondent.
No. 48694.
Supreme Court of Missouri. Division No. 2.
March 12, 1962.

Page 18

Myrl B. Sternke, Palmyra, Albert L. Rendlen, Rendlen & Rendlen, Hannibal, for appellant.

Harry J. Mitchell, Palmyra, for respondent.

STOCKARD, Commissioner.

This is an appeal from the orders of the Circuit Court of Marion County dismissing a petition and entering summary judgment for defendant on the pleadings in a suit for personal injuries. Plaintiff claimed damages in the amount of $30,000. Therefore this court has appellate jurisdiction. Harris v. Bates, 364 Mo. 1029, 270 S.W.2d 763.

Plaintiff alleged that on January 21, 1959, while standing on a public street he received personal injuries as the result of the negligence of the City of Palmyra when he was struck by a city owned tractor, with snow removing equipment attached, while being operated by an employee of the city to remove accumulations of snow from the streets 'to make the same passable for traffic and for use by the public.' There is no contention that the petition failed to state a cause of action if the city is subject to suit for the alleged negligence, and the issue on this appeal is thus narrowed to whether the doctrine of immunity of a municipality from liability for its torts applies to the acts of a city in removing accumulations of snow from the public streets for the purpose of making those streets passable for traffic.

In determining whether or not a petition states a claim upon which relief may be granted the averments therein are to be given a liberal construction, and are to be accorded their reasonable and fair intendment. A petition is not to be held insufficient merely because of a lack of definiteness or certainty in allegation or because of informality in the statement of an essential fact. Hiltner v. Kansas City, Mo., 293 S.W.2d 422, 424; Zuber v. Clarkson Construction Company, 363 Mo. 352, 251 S.W.2d 52. Plaintiff asserts in his brief that there was 'a general condition of deep snow in the City of Palmyra,' that there were 'dangerous accumulations and banks or piles of snow on the streets of Palmyra constituting a hazard to vehicular and pedestrian traffic and rendering the streets impassable,' and that the snow was 'piled, banked and drifted to great depths in many places on the streets.' We shall assume that it is reasonable to infer these facts from the more general allegations of the petition.

In Missouri, as in most states, municipalities are not liable as a general rule for torts arising out of what is called governmental functions. Dallas v. City of St. Louis, Mo., 338 S.W.2d 39; Hiltner v. Kansas City, supra; Vol. 18 Municipal Corporations, McQuillin 3rd ed., Sec. 53.24. However, whether the construction, repair, and maintenance of streets be classified as a corporate or proprietary function, Mengel v. City of St. Louis, 341 Mo. 994, 111 S.W.2d

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5, or as a ministerial function, Barree v. City of Cape Girardeau, 197 Mo. 382, 95 S.W. 330, 6 L.R.A.,N.S., 1090, 114 Am.St.Rep. 763, or as governmental function for which there is an exception to the rule that a municipality is not liable for its torts, as implied in Cassidy v. City of St. Joseph, 247 Mo. 197, 152 S.W. 306, under the law of this state 'it is the primary and non-delegable duty of the city to exercise ordinary care to keep its streets in a reasonably safe condition for travel,' Sutton v. Fox Missouri Theatre Company, Mo., 336 S.W.2d 85, 92 and to this activity and doctrine of immunity from liability for torts does not apply. The above rule was developed in cases which arose out of situations wherein the plaintiff claimed to have been injured as the result of the municipality failing to keep the streets in a reasonably safe condition for travel. However, it is also well established that a city is liable for its torts arising out of the acts of its...

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15 practice notes
  • Watson v. Kansas City, No. 56432
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • September 10, 1973
    ...did and was under no obligation to erect guards to keep her from leaving the traveled portion of the highway. Myers v. City of Palmyra, 355 S.W.2d 17, 1819 (Mo.1962) states the controlling law: 'In Missouri, as in most states, municipalities are not liable as a general rule for torts arisin......
  • German v. Kansas City, No. 56584
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • June 24, 1974
    ...by eastbound motorists. The controlling law with respect to the City's immunity from liability is stated, Myers v. City of Palmyra, 355 S.W.2d 17, 18--19 (Mo.1962): 'In Missouri, as in most states, municipalities are not liable as a general rule for torts arising out of what is called gover......
  • Garbo v. Hilleary Franchise Systems, Inc., No. 34142
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • April 4, 1972
    ...are to be given a liberal construction, and are to be accorded their reasonable and fair intendment. Myers v. City of Palmyra, Mo., 355 S.W.2d 17; Hall v. Smith, Mo., 355 S.W.2d 52; City of Creve Coeur v. Creve Coeur Fire Protection Dist., Mo., 355 S.W.2d Page 500 857. Construing the petiti......
  • Davis v. City of St. Louis, No. 42298
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • February 3, 1981
    ...Jones v. State Highway Comm., 557 S.W.2d at 229. See 56 Am.Jur.2d Mun. Tort Liability § 30, p. 42. Prior to Myers v. City of Palmyra, 355 S.W.2d 17 (Mo.1962) the rule of law held that municipalities were immune from tort liability for injuries arising from the negligent performance of stree......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • Watson v. Kansas City, No. 56432
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • September 10, 1973
    ...did and was under no obligation to erect guards to keep her from leaving the traveled portion of the highway. Myers v. City of Palmyra, 355 S.W.2d 17, 1819 (Mo.1962) states the controlling law: 'In Missouri, as in most states, municipalities are not liable as a general rule for torts arisin......
  • German v. Kansas City, No. 56584
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • June 24, 1974
    ...by eastbound motorists. The controlling law with respect to the City's immunity from liability is stated, Myers v. City of Palmyra, 355 S.W.2d 17, 18--19 (Mo.1962): 'In Missouri, as in most states, municipalities are not liable as a general rule for torts arising out of what is called gover......
  • Garbo v. Hilleary Franchise Systems, Inc., No. 34142
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • April 4, 1972
    ...are to be given a liberal construction, and are to be accorded their reasonable and fair intendment. Myers v. City of Palmyra, Mo., 355 S.W.2d 17; Hall v. Smith, Mo., 355 S.W.2d 52; City of Creve Coeur v. Creve Coeur Fire Protection Dist., Mo., 355 S.W.2d Page 500 857. Construing the petiti......
  • Davis v. City of St. Louis, No. 42298
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • February 3, 1981
    ...Jones v. State Highway Comm., 557 S.W.2d at 229. See 56 Am.Jur.2d Mun. Tort Liability § 30, p. 42. Prior to Myers v. City of Palmyra, 355 S.W.2d 17 (Mo.1962) the rule of law held that municipalities were immune from tort liability for injuries arising from the negligent performance of stree......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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