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Robinson v. Lindsay Case Brief

Summary of Robinson v. Lindsay, S. Ct. Washington, 1979

Facts: Df, 13,was driving a snowmobile belonging to df Lindsay, pulling PL, 11,  on an innertube attached by a rope to the snowmobile.  Pl thumb was severed when it got caught in the rope.  The thumb was reattached but not fully functional.

Issue: Whether the minor df’s liability for injuries sustained as a result of his operation of a motorized vehicle or participation in an inherently dangerous activity, is determined by a standard of care exercised by an ordinarily reasonable child of same age, intelligence, maturity, training, and experience would exercise?

Holding: No, b/c he was operating a powerful motorized vehicle, he should be held to the standard of care and conduct expected of an adult.

Procedure: Jury verdict in favor of Anderson, trial court ordered a new trial, and Df objected.  Affirmed.

Rule: When a child engages in an inherently dangerous activity, as in the operation of a powerful motorized vehicle, the child should be held to the adult standard of care.

Ct. Rationale:  Courts have created an exception to the special child standard b/c of the apparent injustice that would occur if a child who caused an injury while engaged in certain dangerous activities were permitted to defend himself by saying that other children similarly situated would not have exercised a degree of care higher than his.  The better rationale is that when a child is engaged in an inherently dangerous activity, such as the operation of a powerful mechanized vehicle, the child should be held to an adult standard of care.

PL A: The duty of a child to exercise a standard of care that a reasonable child of the same age, maturity, training, and experience would exercise under the same or similar circumstances.

Def A: Snowmobile accident claim hundreds of lives every year and based on that the operation of a snowmobile requires adult care and competence.



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