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Law School Case Brief

Stephens v. Bashas' Inc. - 186 Ariz. 427, 924 P.2d 117 (Ct. App. 1996)

Rule:

The issue of duty is generally decided by the trial court as a matter of law.

Facts:

Plaintiff minor filed an action against defendant property owner, seeking damages for injuries she sustained while playing on the property owner's lot. When the plaintiff was running from a pursuing playmate, the minor attempted to jump over a stack of panels and her foot crashed through the glass, cutting her ankle. The court entered judgment for the minor. The property owner appealed and argued that the judgment was not supported by the evidence.

Issue:

Does the condition of defendant’s property pose an unreasonable great risk of serious bodily harm that the plaintiff could not have discovered?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

In reversing the judgment, the court found that there was no sound basis for concluding that the condition that caused the minor's injury should have been recognized as constituting an unreasonably great risk of serious bodily harm that the minor was unable to discover or appreciate because of her immaturity. The chance was slight that a child of the minor's age would fail to see the glass or appreciate what risk was presented, and there was no evidence that the minor was of less than average intelligence for her age.

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