Wednesday, January 30, 2013

McCarty v. Pheasant Run, Inc. case brief

McCarty v. Pheasant Run, Inc. case summary
826 F.2d 1554 (7th Cir. 1987)
Tort Law

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Plaintiff guest appealed from the judgment of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, that found in favor of defendant resort in the negligence cause of action arising from plaintiff's assault.

-Plaintiff guest, assaulted by an intruder while staying at defendant resort, brought a negligence cause of action against defendant.
-The district court found in favor of defendant.
-On appeal, the court first held that the district court correctly denied plaintiff's motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict because plaintiff failed to move for a directed verdict on the issue of defendant's negligence, and because the evidence was not sufficient to support a directed verdict.

-The court found that plaintiff did not offer proof that the incident could have been prevented by precautions of reasonable cost and efficacy, or that defendant failed to provide the standard of care imposed upon defendant to protect its guests from assaults.
-The jury reasonably could have deemed plaintiff careless when she left the glass door in the room unlocked.
-The court rejected plaintiff's challenge to the contributory negligence jury instruction, and endorsed the district court's exclusion of evidence related to defendant's security history and procedures under Federal Evidence Rules.
-The court affirmed the judgment.

-Unreasonable conduct is merely the failure to take precautions that would generate greater benefits in avoiding accidents than the precautions would cost.
-Due care is that care which is optimal given that the potential victim is himself reasonably careful; a careless person cannot by his carelessness raise the standard of care of those he encounters.

CONCLUSION: The court affirmed the judgment in favor of defendant resort in the negligence cause of action brought by plaintiff guest. Plaintiff's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict was properly denied because plaintiff failed to file a motion for directed verdict on the issue of defendant's negligence. The court held that sufficient evidence supported the verdict and rejected plaintiff's objections to a jury instruction and evidentiary rulings.

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