Torts I

Lubitz v. Wells

Superior Court of Connecticut, 1955

Facts:

The defendant left his golf club lying in his backyard. His eleven-year-old son then found it and began playing with it. Wells's son accidentally hit Lubitz, a nine-year-old friend in the jaw with the club.

Procedural History:

Defendant won initially.

Issue:

Should a golf club be known to cause damage if left unattended by children?

Plaintiff's Argument:

Defendant should be liable because he should have known children could injure one another with a golf club.

Defendant's Argument:

Defendant should not be liable because he could no reasonably foresee such an injury resulting from leaving his golf club on the ground.

Rules:

  • A golf club is not an intrinsically dangerous object.

  • Bell's broad: A person does not breach his duty if a danger is not reasonably foreseeable.

  • Bell's narrow: If an object is not intrinsically dangerous, one does not breach his duty.

Reasoning:

As the golf club itself is not intrinsically dangerous, it cannot be assumed that such an injury could be reasonably foreseen.

Holding:

No, a golf club is not dangerous enough to make one liable for just leaving it on the ground.

Takeaway:

Some objects are and some are not intrinsically dangerous enough to make on liable for leaving them accessible.

Note:

Demurrer – Objection to the legal sufficiency without affirming or denying (no cause of action presented)

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