Adams v. Bullock

Court of Appeal of New York, 1919
227 N.Y. 208, 125 N.E. 93

D runs a trolley line that uses an overhead wire system, and one of the roads on which the trolley runs is crossed by a bridge that pedestrians often use.

P, a 12-year-old boy, was walking across be bridge swinging a wire. He brought the wire into contact with the trolley wire.

P was shocked and burned when the wires came together.

The trial court entered a verdict in favor of P, and the court of appeals affirmed that decision.

Were Ds negligent in exposing the trolley wires?

No, they took all reasonable precautions to minimize resulting harms and there was no special danger that warned Ds that special precautions needed to be taken.

In using an overhead trolley system, the company was in the lawful exercise of its franchise.

There was a duty to adopt all reasonable precautions to minimize resulting harms. However, there is no evidence that the trolley company ignored that duty. “Only some extraordinary casualty, not fairly within the area of ordinary provision, could make it the trolley wire a thing of danger.”

Additionally, there was no special danger at this bridge that warned D that special precautions needed to be taken. “Ordinary caution did not involve forethought of this extraordinary peril.”

However, when there is facility of protection, a duty may be imposed to protect. With trolley wires, insulation is impossible.

Reversed and a new trial is granted

Contributors to this page: kmcginnis .
Page last modified on Friday 29 of October, 2010 21:16:20 GMT by kmcginnis.
Portions © 2006-2019 by Michael Risch, Some Rights Reserved | Copyright Notice| Legal Disclaimer