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Blair v. Durham

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
134 F.2d 729 (1943)


On August 17, 1938, Nelle Durham (plaintiff) was injured when a heavy piece of timber fell from a scaffold and struck her in the head. At the time of her injury, Durham was working as a stenographic clerk in a room that was being renovated by the Algernon Blair Construction Company. Algernon Blair (defendant) was the general contractor for the room’s renovation. In her original complaint, Durham alleged that it was the mishandling of certain heavy timbers on the scaffolding that led to her injury. However, in the course of the trial, Durham slightly amended her complaint to include a claim that the scaffolding itself had been erected in such a fashion that it did not adequately protect the people required to work under it. Blair moved to dismiss the amended complaint because it stated a new cause of action and therefore did not relate back to the date of the original complaint. As a result, it was barred by the pertinent statute of limitations. The court overruled Blair’s motion. On retrial, the jury returned a verdict for Durham. Blair maintained that the statute of limitations barred Durham’s amended complaint.

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