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Klein v. Herlim Realty Corp.
New York Supreme Court
54 N.Y.S.2d 144, 184 Misc. 852 (1945)
During World War II, the New York State War Emergency Act provided that any person who violated or disobeyed any rule or regulation concerning the screening or extinguishing of all lights and lighting devices was guilty of an infraction. Herlim Realty Corp. (Herlim) (defendant) owned, managed, and controlled an apartment house. Early one morning, a blackout was ordered. David Klein (plaintiff), an air-raid warden, as part of his duty to enforce lighting restrictions, entered the apartment house to ask why the hallway lights were on. Two other wardens were in the hallway and failed to rouse the building’s superintendent. There was nothing to block the lights from being visible from outside. There was no light switch, so the wardens lifted Klein up and he unscrewed the light bulbs, leaving the lobby in total darkness. The wardens then lowered Klein back down, but Klein missed his step, fell, and broke his ankle. Klein sued Herlim. Klein argued that Herlim’s violation set in motion a chain of events culminating in his accident, and that the ultimate test was whether the accident would have occurred had Herlim complied with the statute.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Botein, J.)
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