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The specific kind of harm need not be foreseeable as long as it was foreseeable that there would be harm from the act which constituted the negligence, provided it was foreseeable that there would be violence toward others.
Defendant teen-ager invited plaintiff to a party while defendant's mother was away. Defendant arranged and paid for kegs of beer. When four intoxicated youths arrived uninvited, defendant was uneasy, but did nothing other than asking plaintiff to intercede when they became abusive to her older sister. She admittedly did not call police because of the underage drinking. Plaintiff was assaulted at the defendant’s party. Plaintiff brought suit against the defendant and both of her parents for the injuries he sustained. A motion for summary judgment was allowed as to all defendants. On appeal, plaintiff argued that a jury should have decided whether the assault was foreseeable and defendant should have prevented it.
Was the grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants proper under the circumstances?
The court held that plaintiff raised a triable issue of defendant's liability for the beating he subsequently suffered at the hands of the uninvited guests. Although the trial court had considered sucker-punches always to be unforeseeable acts, the court looked at the larger context, and held that a reasonable host might well be found to have a responsibility to know that drunken, uninvited guests with bad reputations posed a threat to her other guests. In such a situation, almost any irrational act could be foreseeable. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.