It is not enough that negligence of one person and injury to another coexists, but the injury must be caused by the negligence. Post hoc ergo propter hoc is not sound as evidence or argument. Nor is it sufficient for a plaintiff, seeking recovery for alleged negligence by another toward the plaintiff, to show a possibility that the injury complained of was caused by negligence. Possibilities will not sustain a verdict. It must have a better foundation.
Appellant hotel owner challenged a judgment of the circuit court which entered a verdict for appellee visitor in the visitor's personal injury action against the hotel owner arising from an accident in which broken glass fell on the visitor's head. The visitor was a business associate of a hotel guest. The guest notified the hotel clerk that there was a break in the glass of the transom of his room. Later, the guest and visitor had a business meeting in the guest's room. When the visitor opened the door to leave, the broken glass fell onto his head, causing a wound on the temple, as well as two other wounds. The temple wound never healed and a cancer developed. The hotel owner's requested instruction that the cancer should not have been considered by the jury was refused and the jury awarded a large sum.
May a hotel owner be was liable for a visitor's injury?
The court affirmed as to liability because there was sufficient competent evidence that the condition had existed for a sufficient length of time to charge the hotel owner with responsible notice thereof, and a reasonably prudent and careful operator should have foreseen the likelihood of injury. The court reversed and remanded as to the damages because the expert testimony on whether the wound was the cause of the cancer entitled the hotel owner to the requested instruction.
The court affirmed the judgment finding the hotel owner liable for the visitor's injuries. The court reversed and remanded the judgment as to the amount of damages.