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Schreckengost v. Montgomery

Supreme Court of Ohio
Apr 29, 1964
198 N.E.2d 460 (Ohio 1964)


No. 38427

Decided April 29, 1964.

Negligence — Two-issue rule inapplicable, when — One cause of action — Single loss and damage — Separate specifications of negligence.

CERTIFIED by the Court of Appeals for Summit County.

This is an action by a tenant of an apartment building brought against his landlord to recover for personal injuries alleged to have been sustained by falling on the common stairway of the building. The claim was based on common-law negligence of defendant in not constructing, repairing or maintaining the stairway in a proper manner and in failing to have the stairway properly lighted.

The defendant filed an answer denying negligence and asserting negligence on the part of plaintiff.

At the beginning of the trial, over objection, plaintiff orally obtained leave to amend his petition to include sections of the municipal building code relative to handrails and lighted stairways. The ordinances were not proved, offered in evidence, or admitted by defendant.

The trial court charged the jury on common-law negligence and also on the building code ordinances requiring handrails and lighted stairways, to which latter charge defendant objected.

The jury returned a special finding that plaintiff was not guilty of contributory negligence and a general verdict for plaintiff. Judgment was rendered on the verdict.

On appeal to the Court of Appeals, defendant contended that there was prejudicial error in charging on the ordinances since they were neither pleaded nor proved and were inapplicable in any event.

The Court of Appeals found no error in the submission of the charge on common-law negligence but was of the opinion that the court erred in submitting the claimed ordinance violations because of a complete failure of proof; that the two-issue rule should not be applied to a case of this character; and that the judgment should be reversed for error in submitting to the jury the alleged ordinance violations as to which there was no proof.

The judges of the Court of Appeals, finding the judgment, upon which they agreed, to be in conflict with judgments pronounced upon the same question by other Courts of Appeals in the cases of Zimmerman v. Second Natl. Bank of Bucyrus, 24 Ohio App. 48, and Berger v. Grandview Building Co., 42 Ohio Law Abs., 99, certified the record to this court for review and final determination.

Messrs. Kelley Schneiderman, for appellant.

Messrs. Buckingham, Doolittle Burroughs and Mr. Charles E. Pierson, for appellee.

The two-issue rule is not applicable. There is but one cause of action, and it is based on the claimed negligence of defendant resulting in a single loss and damage. Separate specifications of negligence provide no basis for the application of the two-issue rule. Claypool v. Mohawk Motor, Inc., 155 Ohio St. 8.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.

Judgment affirmed.


KOVACHY, J., of the Eighth Appellate District, sitting by designation in the place and stead of MATTHIAS, J.

Summaries of

Schreckengost v. Montgomery

Supreme Court of Ohio
Apr 29, 1964
198 N.E.2d 460 (Ohio 1964)
Case details for

Schreckengost v. Montgomery

Case Details


Court:Supreme Court of Ohio

Date published: Apr 29, 1964


198 N.E.2d 460 (Ohio 1964)
198 N.E.2d 460

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