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Hunt v. City Stores, Inc.
Louisiana Supreme Court
387 So. 2d 585 (1980)
While 12-year-old David Hunt was riding an escalator in the Maison Blanche store, the escalator grabbed his tennis shoe and pulled it into the side opening, injuring his knees. No evidence suggested David was misbehaving or deliberately wedged his foot in the escalator. Jerry Hunt (plaintiff), David’s father, sued the following parties individually and as the administrator of David’s estate: City Stores, Inc. d/b/a Maison Blanche; its insurer, Travelers Insurance Company (Travelers); Otis Elevator Company (Otis), the manufacturer of the escalator; and its insurer, Commercial Union Assurance Company (Commercial Union) (collectively, defendants). Although Otis installed and serviced the escalator, City Stores was exclusively in possession and control of the escalator. Otis engineer David Steel admitted escalators had problems with children’s tennis shoes getting caught, and Roger Harris of Otis, an escalator expert, testified stores had informed Otis of those incidents. Harris said the only warning sign Otis used was an inconspicuous one that cautioned against bare feet. Although Otis knew of the danger to children in tennis shoes, Otis had not warned of that hazard. Jerry alleged that Otis failed to design and manufacture the escalator in a reasonably safe manner and failed to warn of its dangers. The trial court entered a judgment in favor of Jerry against City Stores and Travelers, but it dismissed all demands against Otis and Commercial Union. The trial court also dismissed a third-party demand by City Stores against Otis. The circuit court of appeal affirmed. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted City Stores and Travelers a writ of certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Watson, J.)
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