Appeals, Nos. 251 and 267, Jan. T., 1958, from judgments of Court of Common Pleas No. 5 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1956, No. 4093, and Court of Common Pleas No. 7 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1957, No. 1292, in cases of Max Bartl v. Crawford Door Sales Co. of Philadelphia, Inc., and Same v. Building Materials Products Distributors, Inc. Judgment at No. 251 affirmed; judgment at No. 267 reversed.
Glenn A. Troutman, with him McWilliams, Wagoner & Troutman, for defendant.
Michael Shekmar, with him Daniel Sherman, for plaintiff.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen and Bok, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BOK.
This is a personal injury case, the question being: whose servant was David Petersen when the accident occurred?
The jury found for the plaintiff against both corporate defendants, and the court below granted judgment n.o.v. as to Building Materials Products Distributors, Inc. Plaintiff took a voluntary non-suit as to Petersen, and the verdict against Crawford Door Sales Co. of Philadelphia, Inc., was allowed to stand. This
company, though now out of business, seeks judgment n.o.v., and plaintiff asks that the verdict be restored against the other corporate defendant.
It takes four corporations to make and sell a door. One supplies lumber; another, hereafter called Building Materials, supplies raw materials; another makes the door; and another, hereafter called Crawford, sells it. David Petersen worked for Building Materials. Plaintiff was an independent contractor and did a great deal of door installation for Crawford. He was doing such a job when he was injured.
With all verdict inferences his way, plaintiff was sent by Crawford to hang a door in a garage. The job involved taking out an old door and removing an eighty-pound beam to which the new door had to be attached. Plaintiff saw that he couldn't do the work alone: the beam was heavy and the floor was so greasy and slippery that he was afraid his ladder would slide and let him down. He therefore called Crawford and spoke to Paugh, its sales manager, telling him that he needed extra lumber and that because of the condition of the floor he wouldn't do the job unless Paugh sent a man to hold the ladder. According to the plaintiff, Paugh said he would send a man to do these things.
When Petersen arrived, plaintiff said to him: "Dave, hold the ladder while I go up there and get that beam off." Petersen held the ladder and plaintiff ascended. He had to remove several bolts and also hold the beam with one hand to prevent its falling. Suddenly he felt the ladder slipping. He turned around and "couldn't see nobody back there." The ...