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HON v. PERCY A. BROWN AND COMPANY. (01/03/55)

January 3, 1955

HON, APPELLANT,
v.
PERCY A. BROWN AND COMPANY.



Appeals, Nos. 220 and 221, Jan. T., 1954, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, Oct. T., 1953, No. 1676, in case of Mary S. Hon et vir v. Percy A. Brown and Company. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Albert H. Aston, with him Thomas C. Moore and Thomas E. Brislin, for appellants.

Robert J. Doran, with him George B. Ritchie and Reynolds, Reynolds & Doran, for appellee.

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

[ 380 Pa. Page 196]

OPINION PER CURIAM

The judgment of the court below refusing to remove a compulsory non-suit is affirmed on the opinion of Judge APONICK.

ING OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO:

On October 27, 1951, Mrs. Mary S. Hon, 68 years of age, entered the business establishment of the defendant which consisted of a serve-yourself market, a restaurant and a cafeteria. She took hold of one of the basket go-carts (which are about 3 1/2 feet high), circulated through the aisles of attractive commodities, filled her basket with meats and groceries, and paid for her purchases at the cashier's desk. She left her packages with her husband and step-father who were with her, and then started for the rest room on the second floor. In order to reach the stairway conducting to the rest room, she had to pass through an aisle which was formed, on one side, by the four doors connecting with the street and, on the other side, by a row of basket go-carts five layers thick. The width

[ 380 Pa. Page 197]

    of this aisle was 4 feet. Two of the doors swung outwardly and they were known as the "Out" doors. Two swung inwardly and they were known as the "In" doors. On her way to the rest room, Mrs. Hon passed by the "Out" doors and the "In" doors. But as she was leaving behind her the last "In" doors, an incoming customer pushed it open, striking Mrs. Hon on the right leg and thigh with such force that she was thrown to the floor and as a consequence suffered serious injuries.

After these facts were related in Court, the Trial Judge entered a compulsory non-suit against her which the Court en banc refused later to lift. An appeal to this Court followed. The Majority of this Court has accepted the meager Opinion of the Court below as its own so that in commenting on it I will refer to it as the Majority Opinion.

The Majority states that the plaintiff failed to make out a prima facie case of negligence but adds also that if there was any negligence on the part of the defendant, the "female plaintiff convicted herself of contributory negligence."

It seems to me that the negligence of the defendant store is obvious, palpable and almost indisputable. We have noted that the width of the aisle was 4 feet, that is, 48 inches. The "In" doors were 32" wide and, when opening into the building, they penetrated into the store a distance of 28 inches. Thus when either of the "In" doors opened to the full extent of its hinged arc, the width of the aisle was reduced 28 inches, thus leaving only 20 inches for the passage. In view of the fact that most adults are 20 inches or more wide, the mathematical conclusion is reached that the store owners ...


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