Heider v. Michigan Sugar Co.

PETITIONER: Heider
RESPONDENT: Michigan Sugar Co.
LOCATION: El Paso Natural Gas Co. Headquarters

DOCKET NO.: 48
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1965-1967)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 385 US 362 (1966)
ARGUED: Dec 08, 1966
DECIDED: Dec 12, 1966

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Heider v. Michigan Sugar Co.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 08, 1966 in Heider v. Michigan Sugar Co.

Earl Warren:

Number 48, Herbert Heider, Administrator, Petitioner, versus Michigan Sugar Company.

Mr. Pillon.

Gregory M. Pillon:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

Earl Warren:

That is the way you pronounce your name.

Gregory M. Pillon:

Yes.

Earl Warren:

Pillon.

Gregory M. Pillon:

Yes.

On December 21st, 1958, two small children, David Heider, age 8 and James Heider, age 12, went upon the defendant's property.

At that time the defendant -- respondent, Michigan Sugar Company maintained several acres of ponds.

These ponds were connected up by an overflow pipe.

The temperature at the time was 12 degrees below zero and the -- around the overflow pipe chemicals and the action of the water create a foaming area that resemble snow.

This froze and the rest of the pond was solid ice except around the overflow pipe where this area built up a foamy, snowy substance that itself was frozen and but was not solid underneath.

These two boys and their little dog, a water spaniel, went upon the tenants property, became entrapped in this condition.

This dangerous, distracted condition maintained by the respondent, Sugar Company, and they were drowned.

An action was brought in the Circuit Court, Saginaw County to recover for their death.

The jury in the case of David Heider, it turned a verdict in the amount of $125,000 and the judge in the companion case, James Heider because of different measure of damages returned a judgment $41,000.

A case -- a motion for a new trial was filed by the respondent except for a certain reasons and grounds for appeal.

The motion was denied.

An appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the state of Michigan.

With all this procedure, so far there has been no complaint but then completely outside of the record to the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan, the respondent Michigan Sugar Company in its brief on appeal brought forth to the attention of the Supreme Court an endeavor to bring forth to the attention of the Supreme Court a statute known as Public Act 201 of the Public Acts of the State of Michigan in the year 1953 claiming that this statute affected the case.

Is that the real reason for that, or there is the (Inaudible)?

Gregory M. Pillon:

That was the denial of the equal protection of law, that's in the --

But based it on (Inaudible) of that statute (Voice Overlap) --

Gregory M. Pillon:

That's correct.

(Inaudible)

Gregory M. Pillon:

That's correct.

Do you think the reliance of that statute to be a (Inaudible) --

Gregory M. Pillon:

Well, the statute itself -- our contention is first of all that I've never been -- had an opportunity or my day in court in relation to that statute.

Does that mean to say (Inaudible) --

Gregory M. Pillon:

That's right.