STEPHENS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, CROSS-RESPONDENT V. STEARNS, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT. Supreme Ct. of Idaho, 1984. 106 Idaho 249, 678 P.2d 41

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STEPHENS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, CROSS-RESPONDENT V. STEARNS, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT. Supreme Ct. of Idaho, 1984. 106 Idaho 249, 678 P.2d 41 Powered By Docstoc
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STEPHENS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, CROSS-RESPONDENT V. STEARNS, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT. Supreme Ct. of Idaho, 1984. 106 Idaho 249, 678 P.2d 41. History: Stephens filed suit for personal injuries she sustained from a fall on an interior stairway of her apt.; Defendants moved for directed verdicts; motions were granted b/c plaintiff failed to show absence of handrail was causally related to her injury and Stearns didn’t owe a duty of care to Stephens Stephens then filed motion for new trial and/or reconsideration b/c there was sufficient evidence to show jury whether it was causation and that Stearns owed her a duty of care; that motion was denied and this appeal followed Facts: Stephens lived in an apt complex, which was a townhouse consisting of two separate floors connected by an internal stairway; Stephens fell down stairs and sustained injuries Issue(s): Was there sufficient evidence to determine if the absence of a handrail was an actual cause in Plaintiff’s injuries. Whether Defendants owed Plaintiff a duty of care. Holding: Reverse directed verdict in favor of Defendant Stearns; remand for new trial of Plaintiff Stephens negligence action against Stearns Analysis: Causation—court held there was sufficient evidence from which the jury could’ve concluded absence of the handrail was the actual cause of Plaintiff’s injuries Duty of care—landlord is under a duty to exercise reasonable care in light of all the circumstances; just meant to get rid of landlord immunity For questions of hidden danger, public use, landlord still being in control, and duty to repairpertain only to elements of negligence, like foreseeability and unreasonableness of the risk