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Robinson v. Pioche, Bayerque & Co

    Brief Fact Summary. Action for damages sustained by Plaintiff who was drunk and fell into an uncovered hole, dug in the sidewalk in front of Defendant’s premises.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. The gross negligence of Defendant in leaving an uncovered hole on the sidewalk of a public street will not be excused by Plaintiff’s contributory negligence.

    Facts. An action for damages sustained by Plaintiff who was drunk and fell into an uncovered hole, dug in the sidewalk in front of Defendants’ premises. The lower court gave a verdict in favor of Defendant. Plaintiff appealed.

    Issue. Will Plaintiff’s contributory negligence negate Defendant’s gross negligence in failing to cover a hole in the sidewalk of a public street?

    Held. No. Judgment for Plaintiff. The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded.
    * The gross negligence of Defendant in leaving an uncovered hole on the sidewalk of a public street will not be excused by Plaintiff’s contributory negligence.
    * A drunken man is as much entitled to a safe street as a sober one, and much more in need of it.

    Discussion. Plaintiff’s contributory negligence, his intoxication, will not excuse Defendant’s gross negligence in this case. The court treats an intoxicated pedestrian the same as it treats a sober pedestrian.


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