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Dos Santos v. Coleta

987 N.E.2d 1187 (2013)

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Dos Santos v. Coleta

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

987 N.E.2d 1187 (2013)

Facts

Maria and Jose Coleta (the Coletas) (defendants) set up a trampoline next to an inflatable swimming pool in their backyard. Disregarding the manufacturer’s warning not to jump or dive into the pool, Jose Coleta put a ladder in the pool to enable people to climb from the pool to the trampoline and jump into the pool. Jose knew it might be dangerous but thought it would be fun. Cleber Dos Santos (plaintiff) rented a unit in the Coletas’ two-family home. Dos Santos flipped into the pool from the trampoline and landed on his head, resulting in fractured vertebrae and paralysis. Dos Santos sued the Coletas for negligently putting the trampoline next to the pool and failing to warn him of the danger of jumping from the trampoline into the pool. The court instructed the jury that a landowner is not obligated to protect visitors against open and obvious dangers on his property but declined to give an instruction regarding the circumstances in which a landowner may be liable for injuries resulting from open and obvious dangers. The jury found in favor of the Coletas. The appeals court affirmed, and the supreme judicial court granted Dos Santos’s application for further review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cordy, J.)

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