Night Racing Ass'n v. Green

Decision Date19 March 1954
Citation71 So.2d 500
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

George J. Baya, Miami, for appellant.

J. F. Gordon & Joseph Pardo, Miami, for appellee.

MATHEWS, Justice.

This appeal results from a personal injury suit brought by appellee against appellant and others for damages growing out of a fall into a pit. The suit was originally brought against the appellant (Night Raching Association, Inc.), the City of Opa Locka, a municipal corporation, and the Optimist Club of Opa Locka. The appellee alleged that he was injured by falling into a dangerous pit located in a parking area on property allegedly controlled by the defendants. He alleged that the defendants are liable to him because of their failure to provide safe covers for the pits.

The Court denied motion to dismiss and the defendants then filed defenses of general issue and, among other things, contributory negligence. The case went to trial upon the pleadings as framed.

In view of the conclusion which we have reached it will be unnecessary to discuss any question except that of contributory negligence.

The defendants were interested in a tract of land included in the Miami Naval Air Station, rectangular in shape, being 700 feet east and west by 1,250 feet north and south, containing approximately 20 acres. An automobile race course known as Opa Locka Speedway was maintained on this tract of land with entrances on Fishman Street and toward what is known as Douglas Road. There was a parking lot between the speedway and Douglas Road. There was a public parking lot south of Fisherman Street across from the speedway at which a charge was made for parking. There was a railroad spur track which crossed Fisherman Street a short distance west of the speedway and a public parking lot was located west of the railroad track. Between a wooden fence of the speedway and the railroad track a dirt road ran north from Fisherman Street and in this area cars were in the habit of parking, placed either in toward the wooden fence or toward the railroad track. Between 50 and 60 feet north of Fisherman Street and about 20 feet from the fence there was located in the unpaved area a 'valve pit', which was one of about 45 or 50 such pits located on the Naval Air Station property. This pit was about 6 feet square and about 6 feet deep, with a large valve in the bottom. A concrete wall forming the side of the pit extended about 10 inches above ground level.

On November 1, 1950, appellee and his wife arrived at the speedway. His wife paid admission and went into the grandstand, while the appellee went into what is known as the 'mechanics' pit', where cars were being made ready for the races. The appellee and one Thompson owned a car and it was found that some supplies were needed before the racing. Appellee and two companions left the speedway and drove in appellee's car to a service station a short distance away and obtained supplies. When they returned to the speedway, appellee's former parking place was taken. At the suggestion of his two companions, appellee testified, he turned the car north into the dirt road above described. It is not shown that these two companions were connected in any way with appellant or that they had any authority, direct or implied, to suggest to the appellee where he should turn or where he should park. He received advice from his two companions and them alone as to where he should turn. He found an available parking space and turned the car in toward the speedway fence. His two companions went ahead with the supplies to the waiting Thompson while appellee was busy locking his car. It was then about 8:00 o'clock P.M. and was quite dark. There were no lights in the particular area and the lights on the speedway were blocked by a board fence. After having locked his car the appellee turned south toward Fisherman Street to follow his companions. He was walking along the east side of the dirt road at a 'fast walk'. The next thing he knew he lay in the valve pit suffering from a badly hurt knee and calling for help.

At the conclusion of the testimony on behalf of the appellee, the defendants moved for a directed verdict which was granted as to all defendants except the appellant. The motion was renewed at the conclusion of all testimony and was again denied. The jury found a verdict for the appellee and the appellant moved for a new trial, for judgment upon his motion for directed verdict and for arrest of judgment, all of which were denied, and the judgment was entered for the appellee in accordance with the verdict.

The record shows according to the appellee's own evidence that the...

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10 cases
  • Cupita v. Carmel Country Club, Inc.
    • United States
    • North Carolina Supreme Court
    • April 13, 1960
    ...he should cross the lawn and not use the provided road. Curet v. Hiern, La.App., 95 So.2d 699; Fahey v. Sayer, supra; Night Racing Ass'n v. Green, Fla., 71 So.2d 500; Murphy v. Cohen, 223 Mass. 54, 111 N.E. 771; Johnson v. Mau, 60 N.D. 757, 236 N.W. 472; Keller v. Elks Holding Co., 8 Cir., ......
  • Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. v. Marcotte
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • November 2, 1989
    ...defendant's liability, the judgment in favor of the plaintiff is REVERSED. COBB and GOSHORN, JJ., concur. 1 See, Night Racing Ass'n v. Green, 71 So.2d 500, 503 (Fla.1954); Clyde Bar, Inc. v. McClamma, 152 Fla. 118, 10 So.2d 916 (1942); Moulden v. Jefferson Standard Life Ins. Co., 147 Fla. 3......
  • Mourning v. Interlachen Country Club
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court
    • April 5, 1968
    ...court at the conclusion of the evidence on liability entered a compulsory nonsuit, which was affirmed on appeal. In Night Racing Ass'n v. Green (Fla.) 71 So.2d 500, the plaintiff alleged that he was injured by falling into a dangerous pit located in a parking area on property controlled by ......
  • Goldstein v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • June 12, 1962
    ...may be drawn from the facts, and one conclusion would not bar plaintiff's recovery, the issue is for the jury. Night Racing Ass'n v. Green, Fla.1954, 71 So.2d 500. Voelker v. Combined Ins. Co. of America, Fla.1954, 73 So.2d We think that the broken car stop in the instant case cannot be sai......
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