Guthrie v. Powell

178 Kan. 587, 290 P.2d 834 (1955)



The definition of the term res ipsa loquitur, its purpose in a certain class of negligence cases and the force to be given it is fairly well outlined in Mayes v. Kansas City Power & Light Co., 121 Kan. 648, 249 Pac. 599, where earlier Kansas cases and other authorities are cited, which case has been cited or quoted from with approval many times. The latest was in Waddle v. Brodbeck, 176 Kan. 583, 272 P. 2d 1066. Since both parties have cited the Mayes case we find no occasion here to quote from it or from the many cases in which it has been followed.


Appellee patron was on the premises during an auction. She was in a large area where patrons gathered and was talking to friends when plaster began to fall from above and a steer fell down from the floor above onto her causing personal injuries. She was there with her husband who was there for the purpose of conducting business with the appellant livestock traders, whom she alleged exercised management, care, and control of the premises. The patron claimed that she did not know which acts of negligence by the traders resulted in her injury and did not describe specific acts that could have been the proximate cause of her injuries. She alleged treatment by a physician and showed charges for the treatment, alleging that they were the direct result of her injuries. The traders alleged that they had no knowledge of the steer's peculiarities or propensities, the escape of a domestic animal was not so unusual so as to warrant application of res ipsa loquitur, other reasonable conclusions could be drawn, and the patron had an equal opportunity to investigate and explain the occurrence.


Did the petition disclose such facts and circumstances as justify plaintiff in recovering under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur and without alleging specific acts of negligence of the defendants, which resulted in her injuries?




The court held that the patron was entitled to a trial in the case and the trial court did not err by overruling the demurrers.

Click here to view the full text case and earn your Daily Research Points.