147 A. 759

The S. S. Kresge Co.

No. 6662

Supreme Court of Rhode Island.

November 25, 1929

Fergus J. McOsker, of Providence, for plaintiff.

Sherwood, Heltzen & Clifford and Sidney Clifford, all of Providence, for defendant.


This is an action of trespass on the case for negligence. The case is before us on the plantiff's exception to a ruling of the trial justice directing a verdict for the defendant.

The plaintiff, as she contends, slipped on the stairway in the defendant's store, and was injured. Viewing the testimony in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, her heel, by slipping, came in contact with the edge of the brass nosing on one of the stairs, and caused a sliver to rip up from the nosing, thereby releasing her heel and permitting her to fall and receive the injuries complained of. The brass nosing, when insalled on the stairs, was three-eighths of an inch thick.

The plaintiff contends that the defendant negligently permitted the nosing to remain in use until its condition was unsafe and dangerous to persons using the stairs. The only evidence produced to show that the nosing in question had become worn was that of the plaintiff, who testified that, after she had fallen, she looked and saw a sliver of the nosing, as wide as her finger and four and one-half or five inches in length, attached to and extending upward from the remainder of the nosing, and that the edge of the sliver was sharp like a saw.

Whether or not there was a latent defect in the nosing does not appear. Assuming that at the time of the accident the nosing in question was in a dangerous condition, there was no evidence either that the defendant knew of the condition or that the dangerous condition had existed for such a length of time that defendant would have known of said condition, if reasonable care had been exercised. A sliver ripped from the nosing would naturally have a rough edge. It is not unreasonable to expect that a rough edge would be produced if such a strip of heavy brass is torn lengthwise. The defendant, according to the evidence, knew nothing of the accident. Witnesses for the defendant testified that they knew that none of the nosing had been replaced since the time of the alleged accident. Plaintiff testified that she slipped on either the fourth or fifth stair from the top. The nosing from the fourth stair was introduced as an exhibit. Said nosing, although slightly worn, was in good condition.

The defendant's duty was to use reasonable care, and there was no evidence whatever tending to show that such duty was violated. See Langley v. Woolworth Co., 47 R.I. 165, 131 A. 194; Thomas v. Samuels & Bro., Inc., 47 R.I. 206, 132 A. 8. It follows that the ruling directing a verdict for the defendant was correct.

The plaintiff's exception is overruled, and the papers in the case are ordered remitted to the superior court, with direction to enter judgment on the verdict as directed.