JURY AWARDED A VERDICT FOR $5,000 TO MISS COREY.
She Asked for $20,000--It is Quite Likely That the City Will Appeal the Case.
The Corey case against the city was continued in the circuit court Friday morning. William Geike was the first witness sworn for the plaintiff. He is a student and at the time of the accident to Miss Corey was rooming near he place of the ice formation on which she fell. He swore the ice was very slippery and glary. Many pedestrians passed around the place. He had seen several people fall there, his roommate among the number.
George Bliss was then called to the stand by the defense. He swore that he was a baggageman on the Michigan Central, that he takes his meals at his mother's, and on the morning of the accident to Miss Corey, on his way to his breakfast, he discovered a hydrant open in an adjoining yard and went into the yard and turned off the water. .This was about 4 o'clock in the morning. He swore there was no more ice at the point where the accident occurred than at other places on the walk. It was very slippery all the way. He had to hang to the fence in front of the Markley place to avoid falling. Mr. Newman, of Marquette, formerly a clerk for Goodspeed Bros., was next called. He said the hydrant was never left open and it was not open on the morning of the 4th of Feb. 1898, at 7 o'clock in the morning. Ice which had formed from the hydrant to the street indicated, however, that it had been open at some time during the night. He swore that he sprinkled ashes on the ice on Friday morning, the morning of the day on which Miss Corey was hurt.
Prot. Hall from the observatory was called for the purpose of establishing from his records what the condition of the weather was on the 4th of Feb. '98, and for the few days immediately preceding. According to his reports it was several degrees below zero on the first but there was a gradual rise of the mercury until the evening of the fourth when it was at the freezing point.
The evidence of the plaintiff was here read. She swore that at the time she was injured she was in perfect health and was earning from $40 to $45 a month. She called Dr. Hartly on the 12th of Feb. and on the 17th., Dr. Darling who has been in attendance upon her since. When she fell she struck upon her spine and the back of her head. Hurt to spine made the lower part of her body helpless, had no use of her limbs and feet. Her head began to recover from the injury about March 20th but was not free form pain until long in summer. Is never free form pain in legs and feet. Is entirely helpless except as to things within reach of her hands. Upper part of body from point of injury to spine, strong. Had a special chair made but has never been able to use it, touching her feet to the rest caused her pain. During the time from her injury to now she has been cared for by her mother and a married sister.
This afternoon Dr. Darling was called to the stand. He testified to having attended Miss Corey from the 18th of Feb. 1898. He testified to the seriousness of her injuries and said she had suffered much pain. Could not say as to the degree of permanency of her injuries. Said he had presented no bill for professional services. His bill was probably $160.
At this point Mr. Lawrence of council for defense made a motion, or requested the court to take the case from the jury on the ground of the non-liability of the city. The judge thereupon asked the plaintiff's attorneys to state their position which was done by Mr. Lehman. He said in brief that the claim for damage from the city was based upon the fact that the dangerous condition of the walk at the point where the accident occurred was not due to natural causes but the ice which made the walk dangerous was due wholly to artificial causes. It was the city's duty therefor to remove the conditions which made the walk dangerous in a reasonable time which it had not done.
Mr. Butterfield for the defense then entered upon a long argument from a type-written brief, citing various cases to sustain his argument. He argued that all liability upon municipalities from detective highways and sidewalks came forma statute passed in 1879. He contended that this law did not make municipalities liable for damages in cases like one at bar. The decisions of the supreme court were also all against the contention of the plaintiff. He cited various decisions of the court in substantiation of his position. He claimed that if there be any liability attaching to anyone in cases like the one at bar, it would lie against the abutting property.
Friday night about 5 o'clock the case of Ratie E. Corey vs The City of Ann Arbor, was given to the jury. Immediately after the close of the arguments of the attorneys Judge Kinne charged the jury and sent the 12 good men and true to their room to wrestle with the question whether the city was responsible for the injury to Miss Corey. The jury was out less than half an hour, when word was sent in that a verdict had been reached. The members then filed in and took their places and the foreman announced that they had agreed on a verdict of $5,000 for the plaintiff.
The verdict was not a surprise to most of those who had followed the case closely. It was felt that if the case reached the jury, the plaintiff would receive damages. Apparently the question involved was one of law and when the court decided the case should go to the jury a verdict against the city seemed certain.
It is understood the case will be taken to the supreme court although no motion has as vet been made by the attorneys for the city.