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Linders v. Bildner

New Jersey Supreme Court


Decided: December 10, 1942.

CHARLOTTE J. LINDERS AND FREDERICK W. LINDERS, HER HUSBAND, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
JOSEPH BILDNER, DAVID BILDNER, AND MORRIS BILDNER, TRADING AS BILDNER BROTHERS AND AS KING'S FOOD MARKET, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS

On appeal from the District Court of the Second Judicial District of Essex County.

For the defendants-appellants, Harvey G. Stevenson.

For the plaintiffs-respondents, Joseph J. Corn.

Before Justices Bodine, Heher and Perskie.

Bodine

[129 NJL Page 246]

The opinion of the court was delivered by

BODINE, J. The defendants appeal from a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. Mrs. Linders on June 5th, 1941, visited the defendants' store. She slipped and fell and suffered injuries for which the jury awarded damages to her and to her husband.

A nonsuit should have been granted. The testimony was that the floor of the store was oily; also that there was a pea shell on the floor by a vegetable counter. Assuming that one or both of such substances was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries, negligence was not proved. If the pea shell was the cause of the fall, there was no proof that the proprietor of the store had notice thereof, or that it had been there so long that by the exercise of reasonable care it should have been discovered and removed. Bader v. Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co., 112 N.J.L. 241; Coyne v. Mutual Grocery Co., 116 Id. 36. If the oily condition of the floor alone, or in addition to the pea shell, was the cause of the injury there was no proof of negligence. Wooden

[129 NJL Page 247]

floors are usually treated with oil or wax or varnish. There was no proof that the oiling was improperly or negligently done. Proof that the floor was oiled and was slippery did not establish negligence. Abt v. Leeds & Lippincott Co., 109 Id. 311; Berardo v. Ambrozy, 128 Id. 295.

A storekeeper is not an insurer of the safety of his patrons, although he is liable for injuries caused by his negligence. It is usual, as the proofs on defendants' case show, to oil floors. Apparently the floor had been treated in the usual manner and a long time before the accident.

The judgment is reversed, with costs.

19421210


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