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PORTEE v. KRONZEK ET UX. (12/14/60)

December 14, 1960

PORTEE
v.
KRONZEK ET UX., APPELLANTS.



Appeal, No. 211, April T., 1960, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1957, No. 542, in case of Henry Portee v. Srul Kronzek et ux. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Kim Darragh, with him Meyer, Darragh, Buckler & Bebenek, for appellants.

Daniel M. Berger, with him Berger and Berger, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, Watkins, and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Montgomery

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 194]

OPINION BY MONTGOMERY, J.

This is an action in trespass in which the plaintiff-appellee claims damages for personal injuries sustained on June 10, 1956, in an accident on premises owned by the defendant-appellants.

On this particular Sunday morning, appellee left his place of abode to purchase some food at a nearby store. Upon returning home after making his purchases, he discovered that he had forgotten his key and was locked out. After inquiries, he was informed that his roommate had gone into the basement of the appellants' building a short distance from where the appellee resided. In the basement of the appellants' building there was a speak-easy or drinking club operated by a tenant of the appellants. Appellee proceeded to enter this building for the purpose of getting a key from his roommate.

The appellants' building consisted of three floors and a basement, and the appellee knew that in order to get down to the basement he had to go through the front door and proceed down the stairway to the basement, which was located underneath the stairway to the second floor. Normally there was a door at the top of the basement stairs but this had been removed several weeks before by the authorities during a raid on the speak-easy.

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 195]

As the appellee was about to step down onto the first of the steps, his left trouser leg caught on something and caused him to fall down the entire flight of stairs, as a result of which he sustained fractures of his left wrist and right thumb. At the time he was unaware what had caused the accident but upon returning the following day he discovered a protruding hinge and identified it as the cause of his fall. The stairway to the basement led only to the basement.

At the trial the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the sum of $1,500.00 against the defendants. The defendants filed motions for judgment n.o.v. and for a new trial. Later their motion for new trial was abandoned and the motion for judgment n.o.v. was denied and this appeal was taken.

Appellants have by failing to file an answer to the complaint admitted control of the negligently maintained premises. Paragraph 4 ...


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