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The conduct of the handicapped individual must be reasonable in the light of his knowledge of his infirmity, which is treated merely as one of the circumstances under which he acts. A blind man must take the precautions, be they more or less, which the ordinary reasonable man would take if he were blind.
Plaintiff sustained injuries after being bumped into by a blind man who failed to use a cane while walking to the restroom. Since the incident occurred in the lobby of a post office and the blind man operated a concession stand in the building, Plaintiff sued the state of Louisiana, advancing theories of negligent supervision and respondeat superior. The trial court dismissed the complaint ruling that there is no respondeat superior liability without an employer-employee relationship and that there is no negligence liability without a cause in fact showing. The case was appealed to the Court of Appeal of Louisiana.
Should the state of Louisiana be liable?
The court affirmed the dismissal of the suit, concluding that the standard of care for a blind person in determining negligence is what the ordinary reasonable person would do if he were blind. Under that standard, plaintiff failed to show that the operator was negligent, and without a cause in fact, the court did not need to reach the issue of defendant state's liability.