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O'Sullivan v. Shaw

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
726 N.E.2d 951 (2000)


O’Sullivan (plaintiff) was visiting the Shaws’ (defendants) house. The Shaws had a swimming pool with shallow and deep ends, and a diving board on the deep end. There were no signs indicating the depth of the pool or warning of the dangers of diving into the shallow end. The Shaws also failed to warn O’Sullivan of these dangers. At nighttime, when the bottom of the pool was not visible, O’Sullivan dove into the shallow end of the pool and hit the bottom. O’Sullivan brought a negligence claim against the Shaws for his injuries. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Shaws, holding that the Shaws did not owe O’Sullivan a duty to warn of the open and obvious danger of diving into the shallow end of the pool. On appeal, O’Sullivan argues that the comparative negligence statute abolished the open and obvious danger rule.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lynch, J.)

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