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Thompson v. Board of Education

Decided: January 19, 1953.

CLARENCE W. THOMPSON AND RUTH M. THOMPSON, HIS WIFE, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION, CITY OF MILLVILLE, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



On appeal from the Superior Court, Appellate Division, whose opinion is reported in 20 N.J. Super. 419.

For affirmance -- Chief Justice Vanderbilt, and Justices Heher, Oliphant, Wachenfeld, Burling, Jacobs and Brennan. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Oliphant, J.

Oliphant

This is an action for personal injuries. The plaintiff-appellant Ruth M. Thompson was an invitee in the Millville Memorial High School a few days after its opening for the fall term of 1950. The school building had been cleaned and polished for the event and the cement corridor was highly waxed and polished. The appellant claimed the slippery surface caused her to lose her footing and as a result of the fall she incurred a fracture of her hip and was otherwise seriously injured.

The theory of the complaint is that the defendant-respondent was guilty of active wrongdoing and positive acts of malfeasance whereby a nuisance was maintained by it. Actually, the insistment is the floor was too highly waxed and polished, that it was so highly waxed and polished that a dangerous condition was created. The husband sued per quod.

At the trial of the issue in the Cumberland County Court judgment was entered on the pleadings in favor of the respondent on the ground that R.S. 18:5-30 was a complete

bar to the action. On appeal this judgment was affirmed by the Appellate Division, 20 N.J. Super. 419 (1952). This court granted appellant's petition for certification, 10 N.J. 344 (1952).

R.S. 18:5-30 provides:

"No school district shall be liable for injury to the person from the use of any public grounds, buildings or structures, any law to the contrary notwithstanding."

This section first appeared in our law as a portion of L. 1933, c. 460, p. 1550, which reads as follows:

"An Act establishing the non-liability of counties, municipalities and school districts by reason of injury to the person from the use of any public grounds or buildings.

BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1. No county, municipality or school district shall be liable for injury to the person from the use of any public grounds, buildings or structures, ...


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