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Miszczak v. Maytag Chicago Co.

OCTOBER 17, 1956.

ANTONETTE MISZCZAK, APPELLANT,

v.

MAYTAG CHICAGO COMPANY, ET AL., APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook county; the Hon. WENDELL E. GREEN, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.

JUDGE LEWE DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Plaintiff brought an action to recover damages for personal injuries alleged to have been sustained when her left hand and arm were drawn into an electrically driven clothes wringer attached to a washing machine. Jury trial was waived. The court found the defendants not guilty and entered judgment accordingly. Plaintiff appeals.

The material facts are stipulated. May 18, 1951, Bernice Nowak, plaintiff's daughter, purchased a Maytag Washing Machine from defendant Wolf Furniture Company. The washing machine was delivered to defendant Wolf by defendant Maytag Chicago Company, a distributor for the manufacturer. Wolf delivered the machine to Bernice Nowak in the same crate in which it was received by Wolf from defendant Maytag.

The machine was equipped with a tension release bar, which when pushed or pulled was designed to cause the rollers to separate and release the tension. Shortly before the purchase of the machine here involved, a salesman of defendant Wolf demonstrated the safety features of a similar washing machine to Bernice Nowak. During the course of the demonstration, the salesman told Bernice Nowak that "a slight push or pull on the release bar would release the tension on the wringer."

March 27, 1953, the day of the occurrence, the plaintiff came to visit her daughter Bernice Nowak who at that time was washing clothes. Before the washing was finished, Bernice was called away. Then plaintiff proceeded with rinsing and wringing her daughter's wash. While placing some clothing into the wringer, her fingers became caught in the pocket of a shirt, and her hand and arm were drawn into the wringer. Before her fingers, hand or arm came into contact with the rollers of the wringer, plaintiff says she pressed the tension release bar. She also testified that after her fingers were caught, she again pressed the release bar; and that in neither instance was the tension on the rollers released.

From May 18, 1951 to March 27, 1953, Bernice Nowak used the washing machine "regularly." During this period, she also used the release bar after the operation of the wringer had stopped. On all such occasions, when the wringer was not in operation, pressure on the release bar released the tension on the rollers.

At no time prior to plaintiff's alleged injuries did her daughter Bernice complain to defendant Wolf or anyone concerning the operation of the tension release bar on the washing machine. Nor did Bernice Nowak observe any defects in the machine.

The amended complaint alleges in substance that at the time of the purchase of the washing machine here in controversy defendant Wolf gave to Bernice Nowak a booklet issued by the manufacturer of the washing machine intended for the purchaser thereof which contained a warranty reading as follows:

"Tension Release

"Both sides of the Roller Water Remover are equipped with a red control bar. This is the Tension Release Bar. When given a slight push or pull at any point, it will automatically release tension. Be sure the tension is released while the washer is not in use between washings."

The amended complaint further alleges that defendant Wolf through its salesman impliedly and expressly warranted that the washing machine was fit for the purpose intended; that the tension release worked properly and would continue to do so without repair for a minimum period of five years.

The amended complaint also alleges that the washing machine was so constructed as to be wholly unfit for the purpose for which it was intended; that it was dangerously defective and that its defects were not evident from the inspection thereof and were unknown to Bernice Nowak or her mother, the plaintiff.

Defendants Wolf and Maytag answered denying substantially all the charges in the ...


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