Beebe v. Wilson
Genuine Issues In Minor Child's Accident Operating Wood Splitter
Torts | Personal Injury | Premises Liability
- Middlesex J.D., at Middletown
- Mar 11 2014 (Date Decided)
- Marcus, J.
To prevail in a suit that alleges negligent failure to train, supervise and intercede, plaintiffs may be required to prove duty, breach of that duty, causation and actual injury. On Oct. 23, 2010, the minor plaintiff, Brandon Beebe, visited the defendant neighbor, to help the defendant operate a wood splitter. Allegedly, the minor’s hand became caught in the wood splitter, and his finger became severed. The plaintiffs sued and alleged that the defendant neighbor negligently failed to train, supervise and intercede, to prevent the minor child’s injury. The plaintiffs also alleged that the defendant was willful, wanton and reckless, because he knew, or should have known, that the minor child was too inexperienced to operate a wood splitter. The defendant neighbor moved for summary judgment and argued that the minor received instructions and warnings about the wood splitter, the risks were open and obvious, and the minor exercised his free will when he decided to reposition a log and to place his hand between the log and the blade. The defendant neighbor argued that additional warnings would not have affected the minor’s actions, and that the minor was the sole proximate cause of his own injury. The plaintiffs objected that when the defendant invited the minor child to visit and to use dangerous equipment, he placed the minor in harm’s way and proximately caused the minor’s injuries. The plaintiffs maintained that the minor child had no prior experience with a wood splitter. To prevail, the plaintiffs must prove duty, breach of that duty, causation and actual injury. “A duty to use care may arise from a contract, from a statute, or from circumstances under which a reasonable person, knowing what he knew or should have known, would anticipate that harm from the general nature of that suffered was likely to result from his act or failure to act,” pursuant to Roe #1 v. Boy Scouts of America, a 2014 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. There were genuine issues of material fact concerning the elements of duty and causation, and the court denied the defendant neighbor’s motion for summary judgment.