Hudson-Connor v. Putney

192 Or. App. 488, 86 P.3d 106 (2004)

 

RULE:

An adult activity is one that is normally undertaken only by adults, and for which adult qualifications are required. If either of those requirements is not met, the Nielsen exception does not apply. Whether conduct constitutes an "adult activity" is a question of law, determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the facts in evidence relating to the nature of the activity. 

FACTS:

A neighbor filed a personal injury action against a minor golf cart owner after she was struck by the cart driven on private property by an 11-year-old boy. The trial court granted judgment in favor of the golf cart driver. On appeal, the neighbor argued that the trial court erred in giving an instruction that the owner was subject to the duty of care toward other persons that generally applied to minors, because the owner was subject to the more stringent adult standard of care. The neighbor further argued that both the entrustment and operation of a golf cart required adult qualifications and, accordingly, minors who engaged in those activities had to be held to the adult standard of care. 

ISSUE:

Is driving a golf cart an adult activity requiring that a minor driver be held to the adult standard of care?

ANSWER:

No

CONCLUSION:

The appellate court found that the evidence did not support the conclusion that the owner engaged in an adult activity. The neighbor offered no evidence that golf cart accidents commonly occurred on premises that were not open to the public or that they often resulted in fatal or serious injury. There was no evidence that having a motor alone made an instrumentality inherently dangerous. No license was required to operate a motorized golf cart on premises that were not open to the public. Because operation of a golf cart was not an adult activity, it followed that entrustment of a golf cart to another also was not an adult activity.

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