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Pitre v. Employers Liability Assurance Corporation

234 So. 2d 847 (1970)

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Pitre v. Employers Liability Assurance Corporation

Louisiana Court of Appeal

234 So. 2d 847 (1970)

Facts

Anthony Pitre, a nine-year-old boy, died as a result of injuries sustained at the Thibodaux Fireman’s Fair which was operated by the Thibodaux Fire Department (Fire Department). Specifically, Anthony was standing near a concession stand at which participants threw a baseball in an attempt to knock over objects to win prizes. Anthony was struck in the head by a participant’s wind-up as the participant prepared to throw a baseball. Anthony’s parents, Merville and Florence Pitre (plaintiffs), brought a negligence suit against Employers Liability Assurance Corporation, Ltd. and Maryland Casualty Company (defendants), insurers of the fair. At trial, George Henderson testified as an expert witness that the biggest risk associated with this type of fair stand is baseballs’ ricocheting after being thrown. Henderson testified that he had never seen anyone rope off the throwing area to protect bystanders from throwers. In addition, Henderson testified that insurance company safety engineers consistently approved the practice of operating this type of stand without ropes or barriers. Finally, Henderson testified that when he operated this type of stand, he did not allow young children to play the game, because they were generally unable physically to knock down the objects with a baseball. The trial court found in favor of the plaintiffs. The defendants appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Landry, J.)

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