Appeals, Nos. 491 and 492, Oct. T., 1959, from orders of Municipal Court of Philadelphia County, Oct. T., 1958, Nos. 1295 and 1294, in cases of Nathan W. Actman v. Sophie Zubrow et al., and Same v. Simons Elevator and Electric Company. Orders affirmed; reargument refused June 9, 1960.
William A. Goichman, with him Krimsky & Goichman, for appellant.
Bernard J. Smolens, with him John J. McDevitt, 3rd, for appellees.
William T. Adis, with him David F. Kaliner, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (hirt, J., absent).
[ 191 Pa. Super. Page 517]
On October 14, 1958, Nathan W. Actman, plaintiff, brought two actions in trespass, one against Sophie Zubrow and Anna Miller as landlords, and the other against Simons Elevator and Electric Company for personal injuries sustained as a result of falling on slicks of grease and oil in the basement of the landlord's building in which the elevators were being renovated. The first action was brought on the theory that the landlords were charged with constructive notice of the dangerous condition, and the second was brought on the ground that the elevator company's agents or servants negligently deposited the slippery substances on the basement floor. Upon the conclusion of plaintiff's case, the court below entered a compulsory non-suit and, upon refusal of plaintiff's motion to take off the non-suit, these appeals followed.
Plaintiff testified that he slipped on a grease spot irregular in size and about twenty inches in diameter. He stated that immediately before the accident, as a tenant in the building, he descended a stairway from the first floor to the basement; that there was a stone wall at the bottom of the steps on his right; that there was an archway about four feet from the steps which led into the boiler room; and that after turning to the right and passing through the archway, he slipped on a "slick" of grease which lay directly under the archway.
[ 191 Pa. Super. Page 518]
William C. Rosenbaum, an employe of Simons Elevator and Electric Company, testified that as of June 1, 1958, he had observed a spot of water on the basement floor and that that condition existed off and on thereafter.
There was no evidence as to when the alleged grease slick appeared on the basement floor nor that the owners of the building had any actual or constructive notice of its existence.
The first question for us to determine is whether the evidence was sufficient to make out a prima facie case of negligence against the defendant landlords. To hold them negligent, the burden was upon the plaintiff to offer proof as to how long the slicks were present or that the landlord defendants were responsible for their presence. Loeb v. Allegheny County, 394 Pa. 433, 147 A.2d 336; Rogers v. Horn & Hardart Baking Company, 183 Pa. Superior Ct. 83, 127 A.2d 762. According to the allegation in the complaint and the evidence produced at the trial, plaintiff's fall was caused by slicks of oil or grease. The presence of water was established but the water itself was not shown as the condition which caused the fall. There was no testimony ...