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Law School Case Brief

Louis v. Louis - 636 N.W.2d 314 (Minn. 2001)


A defendant in a negligence action is entitled to summary judgment when the record reflects a complete lack of proof on any of the four elements necessary for recovery: (1) the existence of a duty of care; (2) a breach of that duty; (3) an injury; and (4) the breach of that duty being the proximate cause of the injury.


The landowner installed and maintained the pool, deck, and slide, and knew that one going down the slide would land in about three and a half feet of water. The landowner did not consider the pool slide to be dangerous. The entrant was an adult who was injured while sliding down the slide headfirst. The entrant knew that the pool was shallow beneath the slide. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of the landowner. Both parties appealed. The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. The landowner .sought further review by the Supreme Court of Minnesota.


Did the appellate court err in denying summary judgment?




The Minnesota Supreme Court found that: (1) when negligence was based on a theory of premises liability, whether there was a duty owed by the landowner did not depend on the existence of a special relationship; and (2) the district court failed to consider whether the danger associated with the condition and the risk involved were obvious dangers.

The judgment of the appellate court was affirmed on the reasoning stated herein. The matter was remanded to the district court to determine if the entrant knew that the slide was dangerous, appreciated the probability and gravity of the threatened harm, or that the threatened harm was one that he reasonably should have been expected to know.

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