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Yania v. Bigan

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
155 A.2d 343 (Pa. 1959)



Bigan (defendant) was mining coal on his land, which involved making large “cuts” in the land. One such cut was sixteen to eighteen feet deep, with eight to ten feet of water held within. Yania, another coal miner, came onto Bigan’s land to discuss a business matter. Bigan asked Yania to help start a water pump in the cut. From a distance, Bigan allegedly began taunting and enticing Yania to jump into the water at the bottom of the cut. In response to these taunts, Yania jumped into the cut and drowned. Yania’s widow (plaintiff) brought a wrongful death action against Bigan, alleging that Bigan should have attempted to rescue Yania after he jumped into the water. The trial court dismissed the action in favor of Bigan.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

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