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JONES v. JONES, by Next Friend.
Action for damages. DeKalb Superior Court. Before Judge Morgan.
1, 2. The direction of a verdict on the issue of negligence and the refusal to charge a request in regard to that question were not error.
3. A charge in regard to nominal damages would not have been authorized.
4. The admission of certain medical testimony was not error.
5. Whether cumulative or not, the introduction of four photographs showing the plaintiff's injuries was not reversible error.
Yvette Jones, a minor suing by next friend, filed suit against Daisy Weir Jones and others as a result of personal injuries sustained when defendant Daisy Jones, who operated a day nursery for children, allegedly, through her agent, placed a bowl of hot soup on a table at which plaintiff was seated and permitted the soup to he spilled on the body of plaintiff, burning her.
The complaint alleged in part that on November 11, 1966, the plaintiff, then two years of age, was severely burned due to the following negligence of defendant's employees. "(a) In failing to adequately supervise the feeding of plaintiff to prevent plaintiff's injuries as herein set out; and (b) in serving plaintiff food so hot that when spilled, it burned the plaintiff as herein set out; and (c) in placing a container of food within the reach of the plaintiff at a time when said food was so hot as to be dangerous to the plaintiff as herein set out; and (d) in permitting hot food to spill on plaintiff's body, injuring her as herein set out."
Upon the trial of the case, at the conclusion of the evidence, a verdict was directed for the plaintiff as to the defendant's negligence. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff and the defendant filed a motion for new trial. The motion was overruled and the case is here for review.
1. Louise Brown testified that: she was employed by the defendant as a cook; she prepared the soup the day plaintiff was burned and that she cut off the stove at eleven o'clock; the soup came to a boil while cooking; on that day she waited ten or fifteen minutes before putting it on the cart in a different bowl from that in which the soup was prepared; this was a large Tupperware bowl and she put the lid on the bowl and placed it on the cart; the lid on the bowl was sufficiently snug to be airtight; she then finished putting on the dessert and took it in to the baby nursery around 11:25; Mrs. Wood took over from there; she pushed the cart inside the door and into the room against the wall and then she came out; that she did not know how long it was after she returned to the kitchen that Mrs. Wood came running in and said that the soup had spilled.
Marjorie Wood, an employee of the defendant testified: that the children sat in little chairs at a little low table; that the children ate from the table; that she had in her care ten or twelve children, and customarily she was the only adult in the room when the children were fed; that she only served the food and had nothing to do with its preparation; that Louise Brown brought the soup, about a half a gallon, from the kitchen to the room where the children were seated; that the soup was in a Tupperware bowl sealed with a lid and the cook left it on a serving cart; that the cart was placed next to Mrs. Wood who was also seated at the table, and she thought the plaintiff was seated next to her on the other side; that she took the soup set in front of her on the table and loosened the lid; that Mrs. Wood turned around to get the bowl to serve the soup, and plaintiff knocked it over; that the soup was hot, but that she believed at the time it was lukewarm; that all the food she served the children was always brought in and it was warm, very warm; that the soup fell on Yvette's clothes and burned her legs; that she had been given no instructions relative to the serving of hot food to the children; that she knew of no rules in existence at that time relative to the serving of food to the children; that she did not know the soup was hot enough to burn at the time she attempted to serve it; that when she lifted the container, which did not have handles, it did not feel hot.
The defendant testified: that she was the owner and director of the Gresham Park Kindergarten and Day Nursery and had been at that location for about ten years; that Mrs. Wood was instructed by her never to leave the room where the children are without another staff member to take care of the children while she is gone and to serve meals from the serving tray; that she had instructed her employees to leave the food on the serving tray from which it was to be served; if this was not done it would be in violation of her instructions.
The medical testimony disclosed that the plaintiff received burns which were permanent in nature.
The plaintiff being two years of age at the time of the injury could not be guilty of contributory negligence. Anthony v. Dutton, 73 Ga. App. 359 (2) (36 SE2d 836); Red Top Cob Co. v. Cochran, 100 Ga. App. 707 (112 SE2d 229). Children of tender years are entitled to that degree of care proportioned to their ability to foresee and avoid perils that may be encountered. Lee v. Ga. Forest Products Co., 44 Ga. App. 850, 852 (163 SE 267).
In considering the evidence as a whole we conclude that a finding was demanded that the defendant's agent was negligent in placing the extremely hot soup in the close proximity of the two-year old child because in doing so the act created a situation of which the results and consequences were neither remote nor unforeseeable but apparent. The direction of a verdict on the question of negligence was not error.
2. Enumerations of error numbers 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 contend that the court erred in failing to give certain requests to charge. These requests dealt with the issue of negligence and, in view of what is held in Division 1 of this opinion the court's refusal was not error.
3. In enumeration of error numbed 4 the appellant contends that the judge should have instructed the jury as to nominal damages. In view of the facts of this case such a charge would not have been authorized. Ransome v. Christian, 56 Ga. 351; Potter v. Swindle, 77 Ga. 419, 423 (3 SE 94).
4. Enumeration of error number 9 insists that the trial court committed error in admitting certain testimony of Dr. Warren Franklin Brown, a plastic surgeon. The evidence objected to was: "Q. What is the primary purpose of the plastic surgery in connection with this condition, Doctor? A. Well they are two-fold. This is a young lady, and as she grows older and starts dating and what not, if this is left alone, she's not going to be able to go to any swimming parties without feeling anxious about this or upset--I've seen too many of them."
The appellant contends that the doctor was testifying as to the plaintiff's future state of mind and the evidence should not have been admitted. With this contention we cannot agree. The witness had qualified as an expert and could testify as to his opinion on any medical question within the domain of the professional calling the witness pursues. Furthermore, the answer was explaining the purpose of plastic surgery.
5. The remaining enumerations of error cite as error the admission of four photographs of the plaintiff's injuries. It is argued that their admission was cumulative and therefore erroneous. This question was decided in Cagle Poultry & Egg Co. v. Busick, 110 Ga. App. 551, 552 (139 SE2d 461), wherein it was held that: "Whether any one of the four photographs offered in evidence would have been sufficient to accomplish the plaintiff's stated purpose, is immaterial, and the admission of all of them does not constitute a ground requiring reversal."
Judgment affirmed. Felton, C. J., and Pannell, J., concur.
Rich, Bass, Kidd & Broome, Casper Rich, C. Richard Avery, for appellee.
James O. Goggins, for appellant.
ARGUED APRIL 7, 1969 -- DECIDED JUNE 12, 1969.
Friday May 22 17:47 EDT

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