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Murray v. Ramada Inns, Inc.

Supreme Court of Louisiana
521 So. 2d 1123 (1988)


Facts

In 1983, Gregory Murray was diving in the shallow end of the pool at the Ramada Inn in Shreveport, Louisiana. On his third attempt, Murray struck his head on the bottom of the pool. Murray became paralyzed instantly and died five months later. Murray’s wife and son (plaintiffs) brought a negligence suit against Ramada Inns, Inc. (Ramada) (defendant). At trial, the evidence showed that no lifeguard had been on duty and that no sign had warned pool users against diving in the shallow end. However, there was testimony that Murray had been aware of the risks of diving in shallow water. Ramada urged the judge to instruct the jury on assumption of the risk, but the trial judge refused, arguing that assumption of the risk had been replaced by comparative negligence. The jury awarded Murray’s wife and son $250,000 each, but determined that Murray was 50 percent responsible and reduced the awards accordingly. Ramada appealed, and the court of appeals certified to the Supreme Court of Louisiana the question of whether assumption of the risk still applied in Louisiana after the principle of comparative fault had been adopted.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Calogero, J.)

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