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BLASI v. BONNERT ET UX. (06/11/58)

June 11, 1958

BLASI
v.
BONNERT ET UX., APPELLANTS.



Appeals, Nos. 3 and 4, Feb. T., 1958, from judgments of Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Sept. T., 1956, No. 510, in case of Vito Blasi et al. v. Herman J. Bonnert et ux. Judgments affirmed.

COUNSEL

Eugene Nogi, with him Nogi, O'Malley and Harris, for appellants.

Joseph E. Gallagher, with him J. Leonard Langan, Carlon M. O'Malley, and O'Malley, Morgan, Bour & Gallagher, for appellees.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (hirt and Gunther, JJ., absent).

Author: Rhodes

[ 186 Pa. Super. Page 180]

OPINION BY RHODES, P.J.

Defendants, Herman J. Bonnert and May A. Bonnert, appeal from judgments entered upon a verdict against them in a trespass action for personal injuries after refusal of their motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

The evidence viewed in a light most favorable to plaintiffs, with all reasonable inferences therefrom, establishes the following facts. On the evening of June 6, 1955, about 8:30 p.m., the plaintiffs, Vito Blasi and Daniel Conte, together with three other members of a

[ 186 Pa. Super. Page 181]

    committee representing a playground association in Pittston, visited the business establishment of defendants at 402-404 Cedar Avenue, in the City of Scranton, for the purpose of purchasing certain novelties and prizes. They transacted business with the defendant Herman J. Bonnert in a basement room of the premises. After making purchases, they were invited by this defendant to go to the next floor to look over displays of certain other materials which he believed might be of interest to the committee. He directed the customers to proceed to the main floor by way of an outside entrance while he remained to turn out the light and lock the basement door. They proceeded up an outside stairway and onto an open porch on the level of the next story where they waited for Bonnert to arrive to open the door. They stood there about three minutes when, without warning, the porch cracked and fell. They were thrown to the ground which was nine to fifteen feet below. Plaintiffs were thereby injured, and brought this trespass action.

The collapse of the porch was due to the failure of wooden cross beams because of dry rot at points of support. The porch was approximately fifteen feet in length and extended from the building about five feet. It was constructed of wood and consisted of flooring over a "boxed-in" frame made of 2 by 6 inch, 2 by 4 inch, and 2 by 8 inch beams.*fn1 Each outside corner of the porch was supported by an upright three-inch pipe serving as a pillar from the ground. A beam of the frame, which was 2 by 6 inches, ran lengthwise from one pipe to the other, and at each end it formed a mitered corner with a beam extending to the building. The mitered corners rested directly on the upright

[ 186 Pa. Super. Page 182]

    pipes; there were no metal plates on top of the pipes. A facing 1 by 6 inches covered the frame on the outside. An examination of the porch after its collapse indicated that the 2 by 8 inch beams were rotted at the corners supported by the iron pipes, and that they had severed because of the rot. Pieces of the 2 by 8 inch beams, rotted half way through, remained on top of the pipes at both corners; they were plainly seen from the ground after the accident. The under frame of the porch was exposed and visible from below. It ...


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