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Horan v. Richfield Oil Corp.

Supreme Court of Arizona

September 23, 1940

AGNES HORAN, a Widow, Appellant,
v.
RICHFIELD OIL CORPORATION, a Corporation, Appellee

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa. Arthur T. LaPrade, Judge. Judgment affirmed.

Messrs. Armstrong, Kramer, Morrison, Roche and Duffy, for Appellant.

Mr. Henderson Stockton, Mr. Eli Gorodezky, Mr. S. N. Karam and Mr. J. W. Cherry, Jr., Attorneys for Appellee.

OPINION

Page 515

[56 Ariz. 65] LOCKWOOD, J.

This is an action by Agnes Horan, hereinafter called plaintiff, against Richfield Oil Corporation, a corporation, hereinafter called defendant. The case was tried to the court sitting with a jury, and at the close of plaintiff's evidence, defendant moved for an instructed verdict upon four grounds, as follows:

"(a) that the evidence wholly failed to prove any liability;

"(b) that there was no evidence sufficient to sustain the allegations of the complaint that the service station was maintained and operated by the defendant;

(c) that the evidence proved the plaintiff to be a mere licensee, and the evidence is insufficient to justify a verdict for the plaintiff; and

(d) that the evidence proved that the alleged negligence of defendant did not in any way cause or contribute to the alleged injury to plaintiff."

The court granted the motion, giving (c) as a reason therefor, and plaintiff has appealed from the judgment. If any of the four grounds presented in the motion are good, the judgment must be affirmed, for if the result reached is the only one that could be reached legally, it is immaterial if the trial court acted upon a wrong reason. Eisentrager v. Great Northern Ry. Co., 178 Iowa 713, 160 N.W. 311, L.R.A. 1917B 1245. Under these circumstances, it is necessary that we examine the evidence for if there is evidence in the record from which a jury could reasonably have found in favor of plaintiff on all of [56 Ariz. 66] the material allegations of her complaint, it was error to direct a verdict.

The facts, taken as strongly in favor of plaintiff's case as they may be from the evidence, show the following situation: The premises involved in this action were owned by the O'Malley Lumber Company, a corporation, and were by it leased to the defendant, which had thereon a gasoline service station with the usual appurtenances. On December 30, 1937, defendant subleased the premises to James C. Estes. Among the conditions of the sub-lease was the following:

"Maintenance:

"3. Lessee shall, during the term hereof, maintain the demised premises, improvements, buildings, fixtures and equipment in good order and repair and in a clean and safe condition. In the event of Lessee's failure so to do, Lessor may enter upon the demised premises and make the necessary repairs for the account of Lessee and/or may terminate this lease. Lessee shall make no change, alteration or substitution in the demised premises, improvements, buildings, fixtures and equipment except such as may be ...


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