On January 9, 1960 an owner of a gasoline station in The Bronx, New York. On this date, the gasoline delivery truck arrived to fill the underground tanks. There is an asphalt area on the side of the station to provide the delivery truck with a safe location to pump out the fuel. The delivery trucks are not supposed to be on the concrete customer pavilion at any time. While the delivery truck is delivering the fuel, the owner would go out to the customer pavilion to be available in case of emergency since it took about an hour for the fuel delivery.
On the date of the commercial truck accident, the owner of the station was attending to a customer at the service island by pumping the gasoline into the customer’s car. The delivery truck was on the asphalt section delivering the gasoline. When the tanks were full, the driver got in and decided to cut through the concrete customer pavilion section rather than exit out of the station through the asphalt delivery side. He had failed to secure the handles to the bulk box compartment swinging doors on the side of the truck prior to pulling off. In fact, he stated that he did not even know that the owner was out on the customer pavilion and thought that he was still in the office area.
As the truck pulled past the owner of the station, he was struck in the rear end by one of the bulk box compartment doors that were sticking out. The force of the blow spun him around and into the rear tires of the delivery truck. A witness grabbed him and pulled him free of the wheels. This accident resulted in serious injury to the gasoline station owner. A lawsuit was filed by the gasoline station owner against the delivery truck driver and the company that the delivery truck driver works for.
At trial the jury found that the gasoline station owner was guilty of contributory negligence. The Supreme Court on appeal disagreed and stated that there is no evidence whatsoever to find that the station owner was responsible in any way for this accident. He was doing his job in a legal and safe fashion when the Long Island delivery truck left the area that it was supposed to be in and struck him. The trial court verdict was overturned and the case was remitted for a new trial.
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