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PHILLIPS v. SELTZER

June 29, 1955

George Leighton PHILLIPS, Plaintiff,
v.
Oscar SELTZER, Leo A. Seltzer and Fred Morelli, individually and as partners trading as The Roller Derby or Roller Derby Associates, and The Roller Derby, Inc., a corporation, and Roller Derby Associates, a corporation, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDELSTEIN

Findings of Fact

1. Plaintiff is a citizen of New Jersey.

 2. The defendant Leo A. Seltzer (the only defendant served with process in this case), together with Oscar Seltzer and Fred Morelli, individually and as persons trading as Roller Derby Associates, are citizens of the State of Illinois.

 3. The amount in controversy exceeds the sum of $ 3,000 exclusive of interest and costs.

 4. On November 16, 1950, the defendant, Leo A. Seltzer, was engaged in the promotion of an exhibition of roller skating known as the Roller Derby and this exhibition was held at the Teaneck Armory in Teaneck, New Jersey.

 5. The lease between the defendant and the Department of Defense, State of New Jersey, granted to the defendant as lessee the use of the drill floor, lavatory facilities, and whatever dressing rooms were available, to conduct a roller derby in the National Guard Armory situated in the Town of Teaneck for the days of 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26, November 1950, on a twenty-four-hour basis.

 6. The same lease also provided that the lessee would assume full and complete responsibility for the safety of the public during this occupancy.

 7. The invitation to the public, including the plaintiff, extended to the use of the grounds surrounding the premises for automobile parking and for ingress to and egress from the ticket windows at which the admission fee was to be paid and to and from the interior of the armory building itself.

 8. On November 16, 1950, at about 7:15 p.m., the plaintiff arrived at the Teaneck Armory to attend a roller derby exhibition.

 9. The plaintiff drove his automobile from his home in West Englewood to the armory in Teaneck, a distance of about one and one half miles, and after arriving at the armory stopped the vehicle on the southwest corner of the armory grounds to allow his father to alight from the car and walk to the general admission ticket window.

 10. After his father alighted from the automobile, the plaintiff drove to the southeast portion of the armory premises and parked his car in the parking area provided at that location.

 11. The Teaneck Armory ran longitudinally east and west.

 12. The front of the armory was at the west end and this faced Teaneck Road.

 13. There were parking areas for patrons of the Roller Derby on three sides of the armory grounds -- the south, north, and east.

 14. The weather conditions were clear and dry when the plaintiff arrived at the armory.

 15. Following a conversation with a young man who was holding a flashlight and directing the parking of cars, the plaintiff walked about 40 feet to the southeast corner of the armory building.

 16. The plaintiff made a left turn around the southeast corner of the armory building and commenced walking in a northerly direction with the east end of the armory to his left.

 17. Reserved seat tickets were sold at the west end of the armory.

 18. There was a general admission entrance located at about the center on the north side of the armory.

 19. The plaintiff's father walked to the general admission entrance on the north side of the armory and stood in the line to purchase general admission tickets for himself and the plaintiff.

 20. The west end of the armory was well lighted with electric lights.

 21. The south side of the armory had only two electric lights lit, one over each doorway.

 22. The north side of the armory had two electric lights lit, one over each doorway.

 23. The east side of the armory had no electric lights provided on the outside of the building.

 24. The light that came through the windows at the east end of the armory was not sufficient to throw any appreciable amount of light on the ground at the east end of the armory.

 25. There were no sidewalks around the armory except for one walk that was located across the roadway at the westerly end of the armory; although a blacktop roadway was constructed along the southerly side of the armory after the plaintiff's accident, there was no such ...


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