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Bass v. Aetna Insurance Co.
Louisiana Supreme Court
370 So.2d 511 (1979)
Mrs. Loyd Bass (plaintiff) worshipped for 25 years at Shepard’s Fold Church of God. On February 12, 1974, she attended a revival meeting at the church. About 350 parishioners attended the meeting, and there were insufficient seats. Those who could not find seats stood in the aisles, including Bass. The reverend asked for the attendees to clear the aisles so that they could respond openly to the Holy Spirit, including possibly running. Bass remained in an aisle, praying with her eyes closed. One parishioner, Kenneth Fussell, heeded the reverend’s call to run under the Spirit of the Lord. He ran up the aisle and collided with Bass while she prayed. Bass fell and was injured. Bass and her husband sued the insurance companies of Fussell and Shepard’s Fold Church of God, seeking damages for her injuries. The insurance companies argued that Bass assumed the risk of her injuries by praying in the aisle with her eyes closed, and that Bass was contributorily negligent. At trial, Bass testified that in her 25 years at the church, she had never seen anyone run in the church. Additionally, there was evidence that no one had ever been injured in the church or felt endangered. The trial court dismissed Bass’s suit. Bass appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed. Bass applied for and the supreme court granted writs.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Dixon, J.)
Concurrence (Marcus, J.)
Dissent (Blanche, J.)
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