Archive for the ‘Washington’ Category

High School Daredevil

July 5, 2007

Benally v. Tacoma School District No. 10 (Washington)
(High School Student Leaning Over Railing Falls From Elevation; Triable Issue Regarding Condition of Premises Created Triable Issue of Material Fact and Trumped Application of Assumption of the Risk)

The plaintiff high school student and his friends congregated on a second story breezeway at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington. His friends had previously warned plaintiff not to sit on the railing that protected students from falling approximately 20 feet to the ground below. Nonetheless, plaintiff sat on the railing during a lunch period, leaning backwards into space. As his friends had predicted, plaintiff lost his balance and fell to the concrete floor below, sustaining multiple serious injuries.

Plaintiff’s fall was linked to a square stone cap that sat on top of a pillar next to the stairs leading to the ground floor, which was described as a “heavy stone top.” In their depositions, two of his friends recounted that as plaintiff was leaning back, holding onto the stone cap with one hand and the railing with the other, the stone cap shifted as plaintiff fell. The school district filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted by the court based upon primary implied assumption of the risk, and the plaintiff appealed.

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