Templin v. Inc. City of Boone

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Citation102 N.W. 789,127 Iowa 91
Decision Date10 March 1905

127 Iowa 91
102 N.W. 789


Supreme Court of Iowa.

March 10, 1905.

Appeal from District Court, Boone County; J. H. Richard, Judge.

Action at law to recover damages for injuries received by plaintiff, due to a fall upon one of the walks of the defendant city. Trial to a jury, verdict and judgment for plaintiff, and defendant appeals. Affirmed.

[102 N.W. 790]

D. G. Baker, for appellant.

Dyer & Hull, for appellee.


Plaintiff, who lost a limb during the Civil War, and who has since that worn an artificial one, slipped and fell upon a sidewalk in one of the streets of defendant city, and received the injuries of which he complains. He charges that about 10 days prior to the time of the accident, which was on the morning of January 4, 1903, the city permitted an accumulation of snow and ice upon the sidewalk, which it negligently allowed to become and remain in a rough, rounded, irregular, and unsafe condition, dangerous to persons using said walk, and hazardous to all passersby. Defendant denied all negligence, and claimed, in effect, that the defect, if there was one, was due to a fall of rain and sleet on the evening preceding the accident, over which it had no control; and further insisted that plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence in his attempt to pass over the walk. In answers to special interrogatories, the jury found that there had been an accumulation of ice and snow at the place of accident for an unreasonable length of time; that defendant had notice of the dangerous condition of the sidewalk prior to the time plaintiff received his injuries; and that he (plaintiff) was not guilty of contributory negligence.

For a reversal of the judgment defendant relies upon three propositions: (1) That there is no evidence of its negligence; (2) that plaintiff did not show freedom from contributory negligence; and (3) alleged errors in the instructions of the trial court.

1. As to the first proposition, defendant contends that the unsafe condition of the walk was due to a thaw on the afternoon and evening of January 3d, the falling of rain and sleet on the evening of that day, and freezing weather during the night, for none of which things it was responsible; while plaintiff insists that the primary cause of the accident was the rough, irregular, and rounded condition of the walk, due to defendant's failure to remove the snow and ice therefrom, which condition had existed for many days prior to the accident.

The rules of law in such cases are well understood. The mere fact that a sidewalk is dangerous because of the presence of ice and snow is not sufficient to establish negligence on the part of a city, even though this snow and ice are not removed within a reasonable time. But where, by reason of travel or the action of the elements, it becomes rounded or worn into ridges, uneven and irregular, due care on the part of the city may demand its removal. Huston v. City, 101 Iowa, 33, 69 N. W. 1130, 36 L. R. A. 211, and cases cited. And if the city be negligent in allowing ice and snow upon its sidewalks to become and remain in a dangerous and unsafe condition, it cannot avoid liability for injuries received thereon, by showing that the iciness or slippery condition of the walk was caused...

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