Bullock (defendant) operated a trolley line. At one point in the line, the overhead trolley wires ran below a bridge often used by pedestrians. The bridge had a protective railing, and the trolley wires ran more than four and a half feet below the top of the railing. Adams (plaintiff), a 12-year-old boy, was injured on the bridge when a wire he was swinging came into contact with the trolley wires below the bridge. Adams was successful at trial, and his verdict was upheld by the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division. Bullock appealed to the New York Court of Appeals.