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12/22/53 SCOFFIELD v. SPROUSE-REITZ CO.

December 22, 1953

SCOFFIELD
v.
SPROUSE-REITZ CO.



Wolfe, C. J., and Crockett, Henriod, and Wade, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcdonough

McDONOUGH, Justice. Appeal from a directed verdict in an action on negligence against plaintiff and for defendant. Plaintiff is a salesman for the Shupe-Williams Candy Company whose duties included calling upon and taking orders from retail stores. When he called for the first time on defendant's store in Elko, Nevada, he was directed to an office platform in the stockroom at the rear of the store to see the manager, Mr. Catlett. He walked up the stairs leading to the platform, while being greeted by Mr. Catlett, and had about five minutes conversation with Mr. Catlett. Having decided to go to his car to get his samples, he turned, reached for a banister, which wasn't there, lost his balance and pitched over the side of the stairway. Plaintiff admitted in his testimony that there was sufficient light in the area where the accident occurred and that, had he looked, he could have seen that there was no handrail by which he could guide his descent from the platform.

We will not consider whether the absence of a railing, which is required under an Elko ordinance, or other conditions involved are conclusive of negligence on the part of defendant. Assuming that the defendant was negligent and that plaintiff was a business invitee upon the property, we must examine the question of contributory negligence, which, if found as a matter of law, will preclude plaintiff from recovery regardless of the other questions.

Unless all reasonable minds must conclude that plaintiff was negligent in failing to observe the conditions before attempting to descend the stairs, the question of his due care must be submitted to the jury ...


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