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Harper v. Herman

Supreme Court of Minnesota
499 N.W.2d 472 (1993)

Harper v. Herman


Harper (plaintiff) was a guest on Herman’s (defendant’s) boat. Herman brought his guests out onto a lake, and at the time considered himself to be in charge of the boat and passengers. Herman set the anchor in an area of water that was shallow, but deep enough to swim in and to prevent the bottom of the lake from being visible. Harper asked Herman if he was going into the water. Herman said yes, and Harper, without warning, dove from the side of the boat into two or three feet of water. Harper hit the bottom of the lake, severing his spinal cord and rendering him a quadriplegic. Harper sued Herman, claiming that Herman had a duty to warn him that the water was too shallow to dive into. The trial court dismissed the case on summary judgment, finding that Herman did not have a duty to warn. The court of appeals reversed, holding that Herman had a duty to warn because he allowed Harper onto his boat.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Page, J.)

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