Monday, November 11, 2013

Yania v. Bigan case brief

Yania v. Bigan case brief summary
155 A.2d 343 (1959)

Plaintiff widow appealed a judgment from the Somerset County Court of Common Pleas (Pennsylvania) that sustained defendant's demurrer and dismissed her wrongful death and survival actions against defendant arising from the death of the widow's husband.


Defendant was in engaged in a coal strip-mining operation whereby trenches were dug in order to remove coal deposits. On trench contained several feet of water, and defendant had placed a pump in the trench to remove the water. The defendant asked the widow's husband to assist him in starting the pump. According to plaintiff, defendant taunted and urged the husband to jump into the water. He jumped into the water and drowned. The widow initiated wrongful death and survival actions against defendant, alleging that defendant taunted her husband, failed to warn him of the danger, and failed to rescue him. The trial court sustained defendant's demurrer and dismissed the widow's actions.


On appeal, the court affirmed, holding that the husband was a reasonable and prudent adult and performed an act which he knew or should have known was perilous; it was the performance of that act and not defendant's conduct which caused the husband's death.


The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

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