Dempsey v. Addison Crane Co.

247 F. Supp. 584 (D.D.C. 1965)



The fact that a particular apparatus or method is used by the industry is admissible in evidence on the issue of negligence, but it is by no means conclusive.


Plaintiff was a pile driver on a construction project. He sustained injuries on site during the operation of a crane. The crane was transporting a welding machine when an auxiliary jib attached to the boom broke loose, fell, and hit and struck the plaintiff. Plaintiff sued the defendant crane operator for damages. It is claimed that the means by which the jib was suspended from the boom were unsafe and that this lack of safety caused the accident. On a trial without jury, the trial court found for the plaintiff and ordered defendant to pay damages.


Whether evidence of the prevailing apparatus employed in an industry is admissible for the purpose of determining negligence.




The court ultimately found that the means and the apparatus by which the jib attached to the boom were unsafe as of the date of the accident, that the use of this constituted negligence on the part of the defendant, and that this negligence was the cause of the injuries to the plaintiff. In so ruling, the court considered evidence of the prevailing apparatus employed in the industry at the time of the accident, and found the alternative and the safer apparatus was also utilized by the crane operator, but to a much lesser extent.

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