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Mattingly v. Sheldon Jackson College

743 P.2d 356 (1987)

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Mattingly v. Sheldon Jackson College

Alaska Supreme Court

743 P.2d 356 (1987)

Facts

George Mattingly (plaintiff) owned Harbor Mechanical and Fire Protection (Harbor Mechanical) in Sitka and Ketchikan. Sheldon Jackson College (the College) (defendant) contacted Harbor Mechanical to clean a drainpipe. George dispatched three employees, including his son Thomas, to clean the drainpipe. The College dug a trench to expose the drainpipe so that George’s employees could clean it. The trench collapsed on George’s employees. George alleged he took time away from his managerial duties in Ketchikan to go tend to his injured son and employees in Sitka. George further claimed that he lost the services of those three employees, and thereby lost business, business reputation, and income, and that he incurred expenses for the medical care and treatment of his employees. George sued the College for alleged willful, reckless, and negligent conduct, seeking damages for loss of income and profits suffered due to the loss of his employees’ services, medical expenses for his employees, damages for his own emotional distress, and punitive damages. George argued that the foreseeable risk of harm to his business due to a cave-in imposed a duty on the College to take reasonable precautions in digging the trench. The superior court dismissed George’s complaint, holding that George had failed to allege a cause of action.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Matthews, J.)

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