Wolf v. Am. Tract Soc'y

164 N.Y. 30, 58 N.E. 31 (1900)

 

RULE:

There is no principle of law that will permit a plaintiff to proceed upon the theory that any one in any way connected with the work, or any one or more of them that he chooses to select, must respond to him in damages for an injury. If the plaintiff is unable to give proof pointing to the party responsible for the injury, that is no reason why the innocent and the guilty should be held in a body upon a presumption that some or all were negligent.

FACTS:

The victim was employed by a subcontractor working on a building. When he was standing outside a delivery truck in front of the building, a brick fell from the building and injured him. He filed a negligence action against the contractors and the building owners to recover damages that resulted in personal injuries. The trial court found for the contractors and the appellate court reversed.

ISSUE:

Are all the 19 contractors liable for all the servants or employees?

ANSWER:

No

CONCLUSION:

The court found that each of the 19 contractors were responsible only for the negligence of his own employee and was not responsible for the negligence of the servants of the other contractors. The court held that the victim had failed to make any case against the two contractors who were originally joined as defendants with the building owner.

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