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Barker v. City of Philadelphia

134 F. Supp. 231 (1955)

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Barker v. City of Philadelphia

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

134 F. Supp. 231 (1955)

Facts

Robert Ebbecke was a child playing in a neighborhood close to a garage for the City of Philadelphia (defendant). The city’s garbage trucks regularly transited between the garage and Ebbecke’s neighborhood. Garbage-truck drivers were aware that their route took them through a neighborhood with many children. One August afternoon, a city garbage-truck driver drove down the street in Ebbecke’s neighborhood. The driver saw a piece of brown wrapping paper—about six feet by two or three feet—in the road. Near the paper, a car was double-parked. The driver tried to go around the double-parked car. The driver also tried to avoid the brown paper, thinking there may be broken glass or other hazards to the truck under the paper. However, the driver failed to avoid the paper. Ebbecke was playing under the paper. The truck ran over Ebbecke, crushing and killing him. Ebbecke had been using the large brown paper to play “opening envelopes” with a friend. Dolores Barker (plaintiff), the administrator of Ebbecke’s estate, brought suit. The case was tried to a jury, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of Ebbecke’s estate. After the trial, the city moved to set aside the jury’s verdict or, alternatively, for a new trial.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lord, J.)

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