Miller v. Arnal Corp.

129 Ariz. 484, 632 P.2d 987 (Ct. App. 1981)



The law presently imposes no liability upon those who stand idly by and fail to rescue a stranger who is in danger.


Plaintiff was severely injured when he went hiking with some friends and got stranded on a mountain for two days in a snowstorm. Four of the plaintiff's friends went down the mountain for help. Because of the developing storm, the manager of defendant ski lodge refused to allow the lodge's ski patrol to go look for the plaintiff and a friend who remained on the mountain with the plaintiff. By the time the sheriff reached the plaintiff, he had severe frostbite and his friend had died. The plaintiff filed a case against the ski lodge for injuries for negligently terminating a rescue effort. The jury found in favor of the ski lodge, holding that it was not liable for plaintiff's injuries for failing to rescue him.



Was the ski lodge liable for plaintiff's injuries?




On review, the Court held that the ski lodge was not liable for plaintiff's injuries for failure to rescue him because there was no liability for failure to rescue a stranger. There was no evidence that the plaintiff either relied on the ski lodge's rescue efforts, or that the ski lodge interfered with the sheriff's rescue efforts. The court also found that the plaintiff did not claim that his injuries were caused by the negligent performance by the ski lodge of any duty owed to the plaintiff, but rather claimed that his injuries were exacerbated by a termination of the initial plans being made by the ski patrol to attempt a rescue. The evidence showed the sheriff's rescue efforts were not delayed by any act of the ski lodge. Finally, the law imposed no liability upon those who stand by and fail to rescue a stranger. The trial court's decision was affirmed.

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