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Property Owner Could Be Liable for Flying Sledder's Injury
Description Sledder was injured when he was thrown into air due to hitting a terrace at the bottom of a dam operated by the Army Corps. Appeals court held that, under Missouri law, the U.S. could be liable for the injuries because it was aware of sledders crashing into the terrace, which could be an unreasonably dangerous condition.
Topic Torts
Key Words Premises Liability; Reasonable Person; Federal Tort Claim Act
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Gould sued the U.S. for injuries suffered when he was sledding down the back of a dam built and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. The theory of premises liability was based on the theory that the construction was unreasonably dangerous because plaintiff was thrown about six feet high when his sled crashed into a terrace at the bottom of the dam. Trial court dismissed the case, holding that Gould could reasonably have been expected to discover the risk involved. Gould appealed.
Decision Reversed and remanded. "Missouri law imposes liability on a landowner when a licensee is injured on the owner's land only if the owner had actual knowledge of a condition presenting an unreasonable risk, and had reason to believe that a licensee would not discover the condition or realize the risk." The Corps was aware that sledders where thrown into the air when they hit the terrace, so a jury could find that "the Corps failed in its duty to take reasonable steps to protect Mr. Gould from that risk."
Citation Gould v. U.S., 160 F.3d 1195 (8th Cir., 1998)

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