The opinion of the court was delivered by: Campbell, District Judge.
This is an action under the Federal Tort Claims Act,
28 U.S.C.A. § 1346. The complaint alleges that plaintiff broke
several bones in her ankle when she slipped and fell in the
vestibule of the Lake View Post Office in the City of Chicago. A
trial of the cause was had upon the merits, and the matter was
thereupon taken under advisement upon the briefs of the parties.
It is unfortunate that plaintiff was injured, but the Court is
obliged to hold that she has failed to prove liability on the
part of the Government on the basis of the grounds above
asserted. It is perfectly clear that the cocoa mat was placed
inside the door so that persons transacting business within the
Post Office could wipe their feet on it upon entering the
building. This plaintiff did, and it is also clear that, although
the mat was small, it was sufficient for the purpose for which it
The more credible evidence adduced indicates that the vestibule
was lighted by means of a 150-watt light in the ceiling, 12 to 14
feet above the floor, and that it was adequate for plaintiff to
detect water on the floor if she had taken the pains to look.
The Court is of the opinion that, although plaintiff has
sufficiently proved that the floor was wet and somewhat slippery,
she has failed to show either negligence on the part of the
defendant or lack of contributory negligence on her own part. The
owners or operators of buildings where the public is invited to
come on business are not insurers against all forms of accidents
that may happen to any who come. "If what was shown in this case
was sufficient to permit recovery, it would require store owners
to have a mopper stationed at the doors on rainy days for the
sole purpose of mopping up after every customer entering or
leaving the premises. Every store owner would be required to be
an insurer against such accidents to public invitees who came in
on rainy days with wet shoes." Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Johnson,
10 Cir., 91 F.2d 332, 339.
Plaintiff herself testified that it had been raining all day,
and that the sidewalks and streets were wet. With these facts in
her possession, she was certainly apprised, or should have been,
of the likelihood of the floor inside the Post Office being wet,
and of the possibility of sustaining a fall as a result thereof.
The case at bar comes squarely within the purview of the facts
and the law as announced in Murray v. Bedell Co. of Chicago,
256 Ill. App.? 247. There the plaintiff fell in the vestibule of
defendant's store on a rainy day. The Illinois Appellate Court
held that the trial court should have directed a verdict in favor
of defendant, and stated:
"From the testimony of the plaintiff it is apparent that the
danger, if any, was clearly evident to her, as well as the
defendants, and that she was aware of the condition and of the
possibility of sustaining a fall before she undertook to pass
over and along the floor space of the vestibule.
"The condition described by the witnesses is one that is not
only not unusual, but is customarily to be found on such days as
described in the testimony, in vestibules of this character and
the sidewalks and the premises surrounding entrances to public
places. * * *
"In the case at bar the plaintiff was as well apprised of the
condition existing in the vestibule as the defendant, and should
be held to as high a degree of care for her own safety as would
be required of the defendant." Cited with approval in Brunet v.
S.S. Kresge Co., 7 Cir., 1940, 115 F.2d 713.
Judgment will, therefore, enter for defendant.
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