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Bernal v. City of Clifton

Decided: December 21, 1962.

MARGARET BERNAL AND ALBERTO BERNAL, HER HUSBAND, AND ALBERTO BERNAL, INDIVIDUALLY, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
CITY OF CLIFTON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



Price, Sullivan and Lewis. The opinion of the court was delivered by Lewis, J.A.D.

Lewis

Plaintiff Margaret Bernal (hereafter Bernal) and Alberto Bernal, her husband who sued per quod , appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court, Law Division, granting defendant's motion for an involuntary dismissal at the close of the entire case.

It is urged before this court that the evidence of negligence against the municipal defendant City of Clifton (hereafter city) was sufficient to present a jury question.

On the morning of February 16, 1961, at approximately 7:45 A.M., Bernal fell and fractured her elbow as she was walking in the public street (fronting her home) toward her car "parked down the side of the house in a parking space." It was snowing at the time of the accident, and one to two inches of fresh snow had fallen during the early morning of that day. There was an additional accumulation of snow and ice, the result of a previous storm on February 3. The severity of the earlier snowfall is indicated from Bernal's testimony:

"Q. Do you remember the volume of snow that fell? [February 3, 1962]

A. It was quite a bit. I don't recall exactly.

Q. If I told you that it was approximately 20 inches of snow, would that be accurate?

A. I don't recall exactly. I know it was quite a bit.

Q. Could we say it was one of the biggest snowstorms we have had in the last couple of years?

A. I believe so."

She described the mishap on February 16 in these words:

"I just went flat on my back. My foot seemed to catch on something in the road. I didn't know what it was at the time and I got up and looked and saw it was like an accumulation of sand and ice under the snow. It ...


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