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DOUGHERTY v. PHILADELPHIA NATIONAL BANK. (09/25/62)

September 25, 1962

DOUGHERTY, APPELLANT,
v.
PHILADELPHIA NATIONAL BANK.



Appeals, Nos. 140 and 141, Jan. T., 1962, from judgments of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Sept. T., 1958, No. 201, in case of P. J. Dougherty and Ruth V. Dougherty, his wife, v. Philadelphia National Bank. Judgments reversed.

COUNSEL

James R. Caiola, for appellants.

Desmond J. McTighe, with him Duffy, McTighe and McElhone, for appellee.

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

Author: Cohen

[ 408 Pa. Page 343]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN

Appellants, P. J. Dougherty and Ruth V. Dougherty, his wife, brought an action in trespass against the defendant-appellee, Philadelphia National Bank (Bank), for personal injuries suffered by the wife as a result of a fall on the floor of Bank's office in Lansdale, Montgomery County.

The case was tried before a jury which returned a verdict of $5,000 for each appellant. Following a request for binding instructions which was refused by the court below, Bank filed motions for judgment n.o.v. and a new trial. The trial court granted the motion for judgment n.o.v. on the ground that appellant-wife was guilty of contributory negligence as a matter of law. Appellants, thereupon, brought this appeal.

The record reviewed in the light most favorable to the verdict winner reveals the following facts:

Appellant-wife entered the premises of Bank approximately at noon of the day in question in order to transact her business. Snow had fallen on the previous day and some melting had occurred. The entrance to the bank consisted of several exterior steps, then a vestibule, a few more steps, and then a set of metal doors with glass panels which opened in toward the main floor. Appellant-wife walked up the exterior steps and entered through the exterior glass doors. After crossing the vestibule and walking up the steps to the landing, she then proceeded to the set of glass doors opening into the banking floor. Appellant pushed

[ 408 Pa. Page 344]

    one of the doors open, took one or two steps into the interior of the bank, slipped and fell. She skidded far enough into the bank so that she was not struck by the door as it closed behind her.

Although Bank had provided rubber floor matting beginning somewhere between three to eight feet inside the door, the mat did not cover the area where appellant slipped. The condition of Bank's floor was such that it required constant mopping and the employee whose duty it was to mop the floor was supposed to do this every fifteen minutes. According to Bank's own evidence, however, it appears that between forty-five minutes and an hour elapsed between the time that the floor was last mopped and the time ...


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