Monday, November 11, 2013

Virden v. Betts and Beer Construction Company case brief

Virden v. Betts and Beer Construction Company case brief summary
656 N.W.2d 805 (Iowa 2003)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendants, contractors, sought review of the decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals, which reversed the decision of the district court, granting of summary judgment in favor of the contractors and against plaintiff employee in his negligence action against the contractors after being injured.

CASE FACTS

The employee was bolting an angle iron into place when he fell from the top of the 10-foot ladder on which he was standing. He sustained severe injuries and sued the contractors who earlier in the year had installed the wrestling room ceiling. The district court granted summary judgment but the appellate court reversed.

DISCUSSION


  • The court vacated the appellate court's decision and reinstated the district court's grant of summary judgment holding that the instrumentality causing the employee's injury was a tipping or collapsing ladder, not a defective angle iron. 
  • The duty to construct a solid ceiling was not to protect repairmen from perching on tall ladders but to prevent collapsing parts of the ceiling from falling on persons below. 
  • Because the employee's fall was not a reasonably foreseeable or probable consequence of the contractors' negligence, the district court correctly granted judgment in their favor.

CONCLUSION

The court vacated the appellate court's decision and affirmed the judgment of the district court.

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