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Law School Case Brief

Edwards v. Johnson - 269 N.C. 30, 152 S.E.2d 122 (1967)


In evaluating a motion for nonsuit, the evidence must be considered in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, who is entitled to every reasonable inference therefrom. The rule is sometimes stated conversely, with perhaps more pointed significance. Upon demurrer, the evidence must be taken most strongly against the defendant


Plaintiff invitee brought an action against defendant homeowner for personal injuries. The invitee was an insurance agent who frequently visited the homeowner's place of residence for the handling of various insurance matters. He was told that he need not call prior to stopping by. One day, he went to defendant’s residence and was permanently injured when the defendant accidentally discharged a shotgun after hearing plaintiff knocked. The defendant’s motion for nonsuit was granted by the trial court. Plaintiff appealed.


Was the defendant homeowner liable for negligence for accidentally firing a gun and permanently injuring plaintiff?




The court reversed the grant of nonsuit to the homeowner. The court was unable to say as a matter of law that an ordinary knock on the door was calculated to create in a person, such as the homeowner, such a reasonable apprehension of immediate danger that she was not responsible for her actions. The fact that the gun discharged under these circumstances was sufficient evidence to take the matter to the jury on the issue of the homeowner's negligence.

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