A bizarre story of mischief of negligence is making the national rounds, and it has ties to premises liability law and car accidents. New Orleans residents may not have much experience with freezing streets, but the folks in Connecticut (where this story occurred) certainly do — just not necessarily under these circumstances.
A 34-year-old man who works at a swimming pool company decided it was time to set the water in one pool free — all over a downhill street. He took a hose and drained the pool, with the water gushing down an S-shaped hill. The water quickly froze, and numerous accidents occurred as a result. In fact, police and emergency responders struggled to even reach the original accident scene because of all the ice.
At least one person was taken to the hospital as a result of all the accidents, though thankfully her injuries seemed minor (she was released shortly after being admitted). The 34-year-old man was arrested for reckless endangerment.
The question now is, “what happens to all the people affected by this man’s reckless behavior?” Certainly civil lawsuits will be filed, and there could be a few angles to them. The first is premises liability. Shouldn’t the pool company have been aware of what the man was doing? What about securing hoses or the pool itself? Was there any sort of failsafe for draining the pool?
Then there are the car accidents, which could be blamed on both the employee and the pool company. The wrecks occurred as a direct result of the employee’s negligence; but proving that the company is at fault will be more difficult. Still, they certainly could share the liability of their reckless 34-year-old employee.
Source: Associated Press, “Cops: Worker drained pool on road, caused crashes,” Jan. 10, 2014