On June 5, 1954 at about 8 in the morning, an accountant arrived at a bar and grill that he was contracted to do the accounting work for. The only other person in the bar was the bartender who was behind the bar. As the accountant came in to the bar, the bartender extended his hand to greet the other man. Since the bartender was behind the bar, he had moved to a section of the bar where a counter piece could be raised up to go between the floor of the bar and the area behind the bar. As the accountant stepped forward to shake the bartender’s hand, he fell through a trap door in the floor. The trap door was opened for reason of a delivery.
The beer delivery man had arrived moments before this encounter. Because of the confines of the business, he was required to park out on the street in front of the business and enter through the main room. Once inside, he had to go to the section of the bar that raises lift the trap door, descend by way of the cellar stairs into the cellar. At that point, he had to go through the cellar to the cellar doors that he could open from the inside to accept the beer barrels that would be passed down to him from his associate on the sidewalk above.
On this date, he had already entered and testified later that he had collected the barrels from his partner on the street and was on his way up when he saw that the accountant had been injured. Because the terms of the insurance for the beer delivery truck driver’s truck states that it covers all of the steps involved in the delivery until the item has been placed in its ultimate location.
The accountant advised that when he fell, the bartender had kept hold of his hand so that he did not fall all of the way to the cellar, but only a few of the steps. The fall was bad enough to break his arm, but could have much worse if he had not been holding onto the bartender’s hand.
The court in this case determined that since the bartender had not released the accountant’s hand and the beer delivery driver assisted him in getting the accountant back up into the main bar area, that it could be concluded that the delivery was completed at the time of the accident. That means that the beer delivery man and his company are not liable for any of the damages.
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