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STROTHMAN v. HOUGGY ET UX. (06/11/58)

June 11, 1958

STROTHMAN
v.
HOUGGY ET UX., APPELLANTS.



Appeal, No. 90, April T., 1958, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1955, No. 946, in case of Carol Strothman, a minor, by Harry N. Strothman, her guardian, et al. v. Wilbur R. Houggy et ux. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

George M. Weis, with him Weis & Weis, for appellants.

John A. Robb, with him James R. Hornick, and Van der Voort, Royston, Robb & Leonard, for appellees.

Before Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).

Author: Watkins

[ 186 Pa. Super. Page 639]

OPINION BY WATKINS, J.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, entered on a verdict of a jury, in a trespass action for damages, in favor of Carol Strothman, a 3-year old minor, the appellee, and against Wilbur R. Houggy and Clara H. Houggy, his wife, appellants, in the amount of $2250.

The court reporter died shortly after the trial and there is no record. The history has been agreed upon by counsel.

Carol Strothman, a minor, by Harry N. Strothman, her guardian, and Harry N. Strothman and Sara L. Strothman, her parents, in their own right, brought this action in trespass for injuries, sustained by Carol, when a mantel fell in a house rented by the Strothmans from the Houggys. The appellants pleaded an exculpatory clause in a written lease signed by the minor's parents and Wilbur R. Houggy. The testimony developed that on January 1, 1954, the Strothmans occupied the premises of the appellants under a written lease for a period from said date to April 30, 1955, with an option to purchase. The house was new and had been built by the husband appellant.

On April 15, 1954, 3-year old Carol stood on a chair to reach for a toy on the stone mantel in the living

[ 186 Pa. Super. Page 640]

    room and the mantel fell away from the wall to the floor, together with a mirror that had been placed upon the mantel by the parents. The mirror struck the minor on the big toe of her left foot. Testimony was introduced by both sides as to the proper method of installation and affixing the mantel. The jury determined the appellants to be negligent in the construction of the mantel and its attachment to the fireplace and found a verdict in favor of the minor appellee in the amount of $2250; but found the parents to be negligent in placing the mirror upon the mantel without support.

The mantel was described by the minor's father as a stone slab about six feet long, seven inches wide and three inches thick; about four inches of the width of the mantel rested upon the brick fireplace; the remaining three inches extended out from the front of the fireplace. The mantel was not attached to the wall in any way. Its sole means of ...


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