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Permitting an amendment and denying a continuance is within the sound discretion of the trial court.
Ronald C. Lynch, an injured farm worker, filed a complaint against Fred Rosenthal. corn picker operator, for damages for personal injuries inflicted by Rosenthal. The trial court permitted an amendment to Lynch’s petition to allege, as negligence Rosenthal’s failure to warn of the danger of walking in close proximity to the picker and its moving parts; the court denied Rosenthal’s request for a continuance to allow preparation time for refutation of the allegation. The jury returned a verdict for Lynch. Rosenthal appealed.
Did the trial court abuse its discretion in denying Rosenthal’s request for a continuance?
The court held that permitting the amendment and denying a continuance was within the sound discretion of the trial court and that discretion was not abused in this case. The court also found that no in loco parentis relationship existed because Rosenthal did not hold Lynch out as his son and Rosenthal refused to pay Lynch’s medical expense. Lynch was not a bare licensee, he was an invitee. Rosenthal was required to exercise ordinary care toward Lynch to avoid injuring him. Lynch’s contributory negligence was for the jury to determine.