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Lubitz v. Wells Sup. Case Brief

Summary of Lubitz v. Wells, Sup. Ct. of Connecticut, 1955

Facts:  James Wells was the owner of a golf club and that he left it for some time lying on the ground in the backyard of his home. That thereafter his son, the defendant James Wells, Jr., aged eleven years, while playing in the yard with the plaintiff, Judith Lubitz, aged nine years, picked up the golf club and proceeded to swing at a stone lying on the ground. In swinging the golf club, James Wells, Jr., caused the club to strike the plaintiff about the jaw and chin.

Issue: Whether the golf club was so intrinsically dangerous that it was negligence for parent to leave it lying on ground in his yard?

Holding: The golf club was not so obviously and intrinsically dangerous that it was negligence for parent to leave it lying on ground in his yard.

Procedure: Complaint for Negligent Supervision of Children.  The demurrer challenges the sufficiency of the allegations of the complaint to state a cause of action or to support a judgment against the father, the demurrer is sustained.

Rule: A parent is liable for the actions of their children if parent was negligent b/c he knew or should have known the negligent use would occur and an injury would ensue, and he neglected to remove the object causing the injury or caution the children of the danger.

Ct. Rationale: It would not make sense to hold that this golf club is so obviously and intrinsically dangerous that it is negligence to leave it lying on the ground. The father could not have known that the pl was in danger of being struck with the club by the son.

PL A:  James Wells was negligent because he knew the golf club was on the ground in his backyard and that his children would play with it, and that although he knew or should have known that the negligent use of the golf club by children would cause injury to a child, he neglected to remove the golf club from the backyard or to caution James Wells, Jr., against the use of the same.

Def A: The golf club was not obvious or intrinsically so dangerous that it was negligent to leave it lying on the ground in the yard.




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