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Portley v. Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Co.

Decided: September 16, 1933.

ALICE PORTLEY AND ROBERT PORTLEY, HER HUSBAND, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
HUDSON AND MANHATTAN RAILROAD COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from the First District Court of Jersey City.

For the defendant-appellant, Collins & Corbin.

For the plaintiffs-respondents, Michael A. Szadkowski (Hiram Elfenbein, of counsel).

Before Justices Parker, Lloyd and Perskie.

Perskie

The opinion of the court was delivered by

PERSKIE, J. This appeal brings up for review a jury verdict of $250 ($200 for the wife and $50 for the husband) rendered in favor of the plaintiffs-respondents, hereinafter called plaintiffs, and against the defendant-appellant, hereinafter called the defendant.

It appears that on September 13th, 1932, plaintiff, a passenger, was on the premises of the defendant, at its Grove street station, Jersey City. As she left the ladies' room she fell, and when, as she testified, she came to herself, a broom,

a very large broom, was under her foot where she had fallen. She fell against a refuse can and sustained the alleged injuries. There was proof which tended to show that a porter of the defendant left this broom at the place of the accident while plaintiff was in the waiting room. While there is some conflict as to the size of the broom there is no denial that a broom was left there by the porter. The plaintiff testified that on entering the ladies' room she did not see a broom or notice any can. When she came out of the room she just walked straight. "I looked ahead of me and did not look for any trouble." This, it is argued, constituted contributory negligence that should have barred recovery on her part. We do not think so. She entered the ladies' room fifteen minutes before and saw no obstructions. The floor of the room where the accident occurred was on the level with the floor of the ladies' room. She could hardly be expected to anticipate that an obstruction would be placed at or near the exit of the room, so that it would endanger her safety. Finnegan v. Goerke Co., 9 N.J. Mis. R. 1082; 157 A. 155.

Factual questions of negligence and contributory negligence were thus presented. It was for the jury to determine these facts. Motions for nonsuit and directed verdicts were made by the defendant and denied. We think this was proper.

This court will not review the findings of the District Court upon questions of fact beyond inquiring whether there was any legal evidence upon which the findings may be based. Williams v. Connolly Contracting Co., 74 N.J.L. 105; Pratt v. Union National Bank, 81 Id. 588; Tapscott v. McVey, 83 Id. 747; Sheehan v. Menkes, 8 N.J. Mis. R. 867; Corin v. Kresge Co., 10 Id. 489.

Exception is taken to the following portion of the court's charge:

"The plaintiff alleges, among other things, that "the defendant was negligent in that it permitted and operated its railroad station in such a careless, reckless and negligent manner so that the same became unsafe for use by its passengers and invitees; allowing obstacles to accumulate ...


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