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Bennett v. Stanley

Supreme Court of Ohio
92 Ohio St. 3d 35, 748 N.E.2d 41 (2001)



Bennett (plaintiff) was a five-year-old boy who lived next to Stanley (defendant). Stanley owned a swimming pool that was in neglect and had become pond-like, containing frogs, snakes, and algae. The pool had no ladders, was not fenced in, and Stanley had not posted any signs around the pool. The property line between the Bennetts and the Stanleys was marked by a fence with an eight-foot gap in the middle. Stanley knew that children lived next door, and he had seen the children playing unsupervised outside. Looking for frogs in the pool, Bennett fell into the water and drowned. Bennett’s family brought a negligence claim against Stanley, claiming that Stanley’s pool created an unreasonable risk of danger to Bennett. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Stanley, holding that because Bennett was a trespasser, Stanley only had to “refrain from wanton and wilful misconduct.”

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Pfeifer, J.)

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