(Transcript, p. 324) 'Was there a string on the floor and whether such was negligence and whether that negligence caused the injury.' He concedes now that there was string on the floor and that that was negligence in the abstract, but, says defendant, plaintiff never got beyond guess and conjecture in attempting to produce evidence that the abstractly negligent string was the proximate cause of her injury. Plaintiff, by counsel, in the opening and in her testimony presented the issue as to whether the string became entangled in her foot causing her to fall. She had been standing still, looking over a sales slip. She commenced to walk. She said (Transcript, p. 276) 'My right foot was caught. I did not know by what, simply was going back and forth. I couldn't fall. I couldn't straighten. Finally, I fell.' At one point plaintiff said that what her foot was caught in felt like a 'band of steel'.
Plaintiff's counsel relied on Clark v. Glosser Bros. Dept. Stores, Inc., 156 Pa.Super. 193, 39 A.2d 733, (1944) as the authority for plaintiff's theory of liability. In that case packages were held together by tapes. When the packages were broken, the tapes, some of which were tied at the end forming loops, were either thrown or fell to the floor. Plaintiff stepped upon some of the tapes, tripped and fell to the floor, sustaining injuries. In the decision it is stated that plaintiff could give no further information than that she stumbled and something 'got tangled in my foot'. In the instant case, it is conceded that string was on the floor near where plaintiff was standing. For the defendant, Mr. Martin strongly contends that to permit the verdict to stand is to permit it to rest upon speculation and surmise only. He cites several well known Pennsylvania decisions such as Radies et vir v. Reading L.G.S. & S. Soc., 197 Pa.Super. 509, 178 A.2d 789 (1962); Rinaldi v. Levine, 406 Pa. 74, 176 A.2d 623 (1962); Hillelson v. Renner, 183 Pa.Super. 148, 130 A.2d 212 (1957); Sloss v. Greenberger, 396 Pa. 353, 152 A.2d 910, (1959); Hopkins v. Williamsport, 25 Pa.Super. 498, (1904); Knepper v. Tamaqua Borough, 36 Pa.Super. 183 (1908). Mr. Martin contends that the concept of wrapping strings feeling like a band of steel and immobilizing plaintiff, if not impossible, is, at best, no more than a mere guess.
However, this case differs in many respects from the situation presented in the cases cited by defendant. As in the Clark case, the string on the floor came from defendant's activities. The jury could start out with the proposition that the string on the floor was put there by the defendant. It seems to the Court that it was for the jury to say whether the inability of plaintiff to take a step came from something wrapped around or entangled in her foot. She was in an aisle. Her position certainly precluded any consideration of the lowboy contention, that is, that she was up against a counter and could not take a step for that reason. It did appear to the Court with some basis of fact to rely on, that in the knowledge and experience of the jury, it could base its conclusion on liability on the evidence that the string caused the fall and that its location there at that time was negligence. I believe that this was carefully explained to the jury in the charge, and, therefore, the verdict should stand.
I think the rule stated in the recent case, Riesberg v. Pittsburgh & L.E. Railroad, 407 Pa. 434, 445, 180 A.2d 575, 581 (1962) is to be applied in the instant case. The Court said:
'* * * this Court, speaking through Mr. Justice McBride, stated: 'We have said many times that the jury may not be permitted to reach its verdict merely on the basis of speculation or conjecture, but that there must be evidence upon which logically its conclusion may be based. (citing cases). Clearly this does not mean that the jury may not draw inferences based upon all the evidence and the juror's own knowledge and experiences, for that is, of course, the very heart of the jury's function. It means only that the evidence presented must be such that by reasoning from it, without resort to prejudice or guess, a jury can reach the conclusion sought by plaintiff, and not that the conclusions must be the only one which logically can be reached. * * * It is not necessary, under Pennsylvania law, that every fact or circumstance point unerringly to liability; it is enough that there be sufficient facts for the jury to say reasonably that the preponderance favors liability. * * * The facts are for the jury in any case whether based upon direct or circumstantial evidence where a reasonable conclusion can be arrived at which would place liability on the defendant."
Defendant's motion to set aside the verdict and the judgment entered thereon and to enter judgment for the defendant will be denied.
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