Humphrey v. Twin State Gas & Elec. Co.

100 Vt. 414, 139 A. 440 (1927)



Unless it be shown that a prudent man, situated as the defendant was at the time of his alleged default, knowing what he knew or should have known, would have regarded injury to the plaintiff or to one of the class to which he belonged, as likely to result from the act or omission complained of, actionable negligence is not made out.


Plaintiff was accidentally electrocuted while hunting on the premises of a third party. He sued defendant power company for damages from his injury. The defendant moved for directed verdict and the trial court granted the motion and entered judgment for the power company. Plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court of Vermont while the defendant moved for reargument on the issue of res ipsa loquitur.


Was the grant of the motion to direct verdict proper?




The court reversed the judgment entering a directed verdict for defendant electric company in a personal injury action where it held that there were questions of fact that should have been for the jury and directed verdict was inappropriate. The court further held that plaintiff was not barred from recovery even if he was a trespasser on the third party's land because the trespass defense is not available to defendant, since it wasn't the landowner. Finally it held that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applied in this case.

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