Torts I

Roberts v. State of Louisiana

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, 1981

Facts:

Plaintiff was at the post office in Louisiana. Post office concession stand operator Burson left his stand to go to the bathroom, however he was blind and bumped into the plaintiff, knocking him down and injuring his hip. Plaintiff then sued the State of Louisiana for negligent failure to supervise the safe operation of the concession stand.

Procedural History:

Trial court ordered the suit dismissed.

Issues:

  • What is the standard of care for a person with a disability?

  • Bell's: Do physical characteristics factor into the standard of care?

Rule:

People with disabilities have the same standard of care that an reasonably prudent person would if he had such a disability.

Reasoning:

Blind people typically do not use canes in very familiar areas. In some cases it can actually be more of a hindrance than a help. Burson had worked the same stand for three and a half years and was familiar with the building.

Holding:

People with disabilities have the same standard of care that an reasonably prudent person would if he had such a disability. Affirmed.

Takeaways:

  • Disabled people have the same standard of care as abled people.

  • The reasonably prudent person has the same physical characteristics as the defendant.

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