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FINNEY v. G. C. MURPHY COMPANY. (03/20/62)

March 20, 1962

FINNEY, APPELLANT,
v.
G. C. MURPHY COMPANY.



Appeal, No. 72, Jan. T., 1962, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Adams County, Aug. T., 1955, No. 93, in case of Elizabeth M. Finney v. G. C. Murphy Company. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

Arthur Berman, for appellant.

John A. MacPhail, with him Brown, Swope & MacPhail, for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and O'brien, JJ.

Author: Musmanno

[ 406 Pa. Page 557]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

On June 24, 1954, the plaintiff, Mrs. Elizabeth M. Finney, accompanied by two other ladies, entered the store of the defendant, G. C. Murphy Company in Gettysburg, slipped on the floor and sustained serious injuries. She brought an action of trespass against the store owner. At the ensuing trial a verdict was returned for the defendant, but the trial court ordered a new trial because of the admission of improper testimony. The defendant appealed to this Court and we affirmed the order (400 Pa. 46).

At the second trial the court entered a compulsory non-suit and the case is now again before us, this time on the appeal of the plaintiff whose motion to take off the non-suit was refused in the court below. It is, of course, hornbook law that the owner of premises upon which persons come by invitation is required to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition for the contemplated uses thereof and the purposes for which the invitation is extended. Vetter v. Great A. & P. Tea Co., 322 Pa. 449.

Did the G. C. Murphy Company maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition? The plaintiff testified that as she was walking in the store for the purpose of making a purchase she suddenly slipped and measured her length on the floor. When she was lifted to a chair she saw that the cause of her mishap was a quantity of oil beneath her feet. She said that her left heel skidded through the oil and that her stockings and slip had become wet because of coming in contact with it.

Mrs. Mary Sunday, who was with the plaintiff when she fell, testified that the floor looked as if it had been freshly oiled. Mrs. Jean Sunday was not with Mrs. Finney at the moment she fell, but she joined her immediately after the accident and said that the floor at

[ 406 Pa. Page 558]

    that point was covered with a pool or puddle of oil which measured two feet long and one foot wide. She said: "Well, it looked from where I was standing, it looked like oil and it looked like they just put a lot on the floor and didn't straighten it out." She also described the quantity of oil as "it was there on a pile."

It is clear from this testimony, and other testimony of a similar character, that the floor in Murphy's store presented a condition from which a ...


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