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Supreme Court of Michigan
December 8, 1999, Argued ; April 25, 2000, Decided ; April 25, 2000, Filed
[**900] [*705] YOUNG, J.
Plaintiff Kenneth Page completed a three-week course provided by defendant American Line Builders Apprenticeship Training Program (ALBAT) in which he was taught methods of climbing wooden utility poles. He later was injured when he fell from a utility pole on which he was working. He subsequently brought suit [***2] against defendant.
We granted leave in this case to determine whether plaintiff may assert a claim that defendant was negligent in failing to instruct him how to climb safely. We hold that plaintiff's allegations amount to a claim of "educational malpractice," which we decline to recognize. Accordingly, we reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals on this issue.
[*706] [**901] I. Factual and Procedural Background
In February 1993, plaintiff attended a three-week class provided by ALBAT in which he was instructed regarding how to climb a wooden utility pole using equipment designed for that purpose. At the end of the course, plaintiff purchased from ALBAT the equipment that he had used during the course. This equipment consisted of a body belt, gaffs, and a pole strap. The body belt is a leather belt designed for holding tools. It also has metal "D" rings to which the pole strap can be connected. The pole strap is designed to go around the pole and attach to the climber's body belt. The pole strap supports the climber when he leans backward. Gaffs are spikes that are strapped to the climber's legs to aid in climbing.
Shortly after completing the three-week climbing course, plaintiff [***3] was hired by the Hydaker-Wheatlake Company as an apprentice linesman. On April 3, 1993, plaintiff was working on a utility pole in Alma, Michigan. While in the process of descending the pole, he fell to the ground from a height of sixty feet, receiving serious injuries. In his deposition, plaintiff acknowledged that he does not remember anything about the fall or exactly how it happened. However, it apparently is undisputed that, at the time of his fall, he had disconnected his pole strap in order to maneuver around a "cross bar" that extended from the pole. There also is no dispute that the applicable climbing method taught by ALBAT involved the climber unhooking his pole strap from the "D" ring on his body belt, moving past the obstacle, and then rehooking the strap around the pole.
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461 Mich. 703 *; 610 N.W.2d 900 **; 2000 Mich. LEXIS 684 ***
KENNETH PAGE, Plaintiff-Appellee, v KLEIN TOOLS, INC., CONSUMERS POWER COMPANY, and POWER LINE SUPPLY COMPANY, INC., Defendants-Appellees, and AMERICAN LINE BUILDERS APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING PROGRAM, Defendant-Appellant.
Prior History: [***1] Gratiot Circuit Court, Randy L. Tahvonen, J. Court of Appeals, GRIBBS, P.J., and MURPHY, J., and GAGE, J. (Docket No. 200788).
PAGE v. KLEIN TOOLS, INC., 1998 Mich. App. LEXIS 1660 (Mich. Ct. App., June 5, 1998)
Disposition: The decision of the Court of Appeals reversed and the trial court's decision granting summary disposition to ALBAT reinstated.
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