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CASEY v. SINGER (01/05/53)

January 5, 1953

CASEY
v.
SINGER, APPELLANT



Appeals, Nos. 256 and 257, Jan. T., 1952, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 7 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1951, No. 2860, in case of Helen B. Casey et vir. v. City of Philadelphia et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

George P. Williams, III, with him Orr, Williams & Baxter, for appellant.

Ernest Ray White, with him Richter, Lord & Farage, for appellees.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Musmanno

[ 372 Pa. Page 285]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

William G. Singer leased a building at 25 South 15th Street, Philadelphia. On the pavement in front of this building there existed for at least two years prior to the event which is the subject of the litigation before us, a depression roughly triangular in shape,

[ 372 Pa. Page 286]

    measuring 1 to 1 1/2 feet in length, with an area of 2 1/2 square feet, and a depth of from 1/4 to 3/8 inch. When rain fell, this shallow concavity filled with water and, if freezing weather arrived before the sun could, with its evaporating process, scoop out the water, the pool became a patch of ice.

Such a situation actually occurred on January 7, 1951; and when, on the following day, Mrs. Helen B. Casey came along, slipped and fell with resultant injuries, she brought suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County against the City of Philadelphia, which in turn, brought in as additional defendants the Pennsylvania Company and others as owners of the premises, William G. Singer as lessee, and Malcolm G. Robertson, trading as Sky Coach Air Travel, as sub-lessee. At the ensuing trial the Trial Judge directed a verdict in favor of the owners of the premises and the sublessee, and the jury returned a verdict against Singer and in favor of the City of Philadelphia. Upon refusal of the Court below to grant his motion for judgment n.o.v. William G. Singer appealed to this Court.

The appellant argues that since the ice on which the plaintiff fell was smooth and uncorrugated by hills, ridges or ruts, there can be no recovery since the decisions of the Pennsylvania courts do not permit recovery for accidents occurring as the result of a general slippery condition of streets or sidewalks. But this case involves not a general slippery condition but a specific, localized and delimited state of affairs. The instrumentality under consideration was an isolated patch of ice. Therefore, all decisions having to do with generalized conditions are not applicable here.

A reversal of the judgment in the court below is contended for on the ground that the plaintiff failed to prove a surface defect, ...


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