Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff, an independent contractor, worked in Defendant’s mineshaft on a platform. Plaintiff fell through a ladder-hole and was seriously injured. The court refused to allow Defendant’s questions pertaining to industry custom to be asked.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Industry Custom is not a defense for gross negligence.
It would be no excuse for a want of ordinary care that carelessness was universal about the matter involved, or at the place of the accident, or in the business generally.View Full Point of Law
Issue. In an action for negligence, is it proper for Defendant to ask questions which pertain to the customs of an industry?
Held. No. Judgment for Plaintiff affirmed.
* Defendant claims that favorable answers to questions, which ask if Plaintiff “had ever seen a ladder-hole in a mine, below the surface, with a railing around it,” would have tended to show that there was no want of “average ordinary care”
* Even if Defendant was able to show that there were no railings around ladder-holes, ever, it would not show that the act was consistent with ordinary prudence or a due regard for the safety of Plaintiff. Industry Custom and usage have no proper place in the definition of ordinary care.
Discussion. Here the court stated that customs within an industry do not prove or disprove the standard of care required – ordinary prudence.