Talbott, J.c.c., Temporarily Assigned.
This is a personal injury action brought by plaintiff Robert Wuerffel wherein defendants move for summary judgment.
At the time of the accident in February 1971 plaintiff was enrolled at Drexel University as a full-time engineering student. As part of its educational program Drexel required all students to participate in a cooperative education program whereby they would be employed full-time for six months in
jobs related to their field of study. A group of coordinators administered the placement process. After contacting prospective employers in industry they interviewed students to determine their needs and priorities before recommending available jobs to them.
Pursuant to Drexel's program plaintiff was interviewed by defendant Edward Stewart, a coordinator of the program. Defendant Stewart indicated to plaintiff that a job was available to him at U.S. Pipe and Foundry Co. in Burlington, New Jersey. Plaintiff accepted the position and commenced working in December 1970. At U.S. Pipe plaintiff was assigned the job of mapping defects in pipes weighing approximately 3,000 pounds, which were being manufactured for use by Westinghouse in nuclear steam generating stations. While plaintiff was engaged in this job one of the pipes fell and struck him, eventually causing the amputation of his left leg.
On May 18, 1976 summary judgment was granted on behalf of defendant Westinghouse and on June 1, 1976, summary judgment was granted on behalf of defendant Howe-Richardson Co.
Plaintiff's suit against the remaining defendants, Stewart and Drexel, alleges that they "negligently and carelessly designed, controlled, administered and supervised the work cooperative program in that they failed to adequately inspect and supervise the area where the plaintiff would be required to work; they failed to properly and adequately design the work experience so as to provide a safe place for plaintiff to work; failed to warn the plaintiff of the dangers both known and inherent in the job assigned to the plaintiff; failed to provide proper screening and inspection of the assigned job so as to eliminate any unsafe dangerous employment; and failed to provide adequate and sufficient on-the-job inspection to insure the safety of its students."
Defendant Drexel University moves for summary judgment on the basis of charitable immunity (N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-7) while defendant Edward Stewart moves for summary
judgment on the basis he was not negligent as a matter of law in that he breached no duty owed to plaintiff.
The threshold question to be resolved under these facts was whether Stewart individually owed any duty to plaintiff to inspect the job site.
The undisputed facts indicate that Stewart's placement duties were determined by instructions issued to him in 1954 when he joined the Drexel placement staff. He was charged by Drexel with the duty of placing with cooperating employers approximately 300 mechanical engineering students annually. He was instructed as to the factors he was to follow in placing these students and as to the role of Drexel University in regard to these placements. He was told the placement was to be commensurate with the students' chosen discipline and their geographic convenience. He was also to go out and visit employers, and in order to ...