Hammerstein v. Jean Dev. W.

111 Nev. 1471, 907 P.2d 975 (1995)



To recover under a negligence theory, the complainant must prove four elements: (1) that defendant owed him a duty of care; (2) that defendant breached this duty of care; (3) that the breach was the legal cause of plaintiff's injury; and (4) that the complainant suffered damages.


The invitee was a diabetic septuagenarian who, with his wife, was spending New Year's Eve at the hotel. He asked for a room on the main floor due to his medical condition, and was told that there was only space available on the fourth floor, but that the fourth floor was accessible by elevator. Shortly after the invitee returned to his room, a fire alarm went off and the invitee twisted his ankle while descending the stairs, which resulted in a gangrenous infection. There was evidence that the fire alarm at the hotel had a history of malfunctioning by going off when there was no fire. The invitee brought an action against the hotel alleging negligence, strict liability, and res ipsa loquitur for his injury. The hotel filed a motion for summary judgment, which the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court, Clark County (Nevada) granted. The invitee appealed.


Is the hotel negligent and thus, liable to the invitee?




The court held that the invitee adequately alleged the hotel's negligence as: (1) the hotel owed the invitee a duty of care; (2) the hotel could be found to have breached that duty by not acting reasonably to remedy the faulty alarm as it was reasonably foreseeable that someone would be injured trying to escape; and (3) a question of fact remained as to whether the hotel's breach of duty might have been the proximate cause of the invitee's injuries. The remainder of the invitee's claims had no merit.

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