The Lighting in a Theatre

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Q: A puppet show at the theatre – that’s where I took my pre-kindergarteners.  As I put-out my foot to go down a step, the house lights went off without warning, and I fell.  Someone must have given a premature cue to turn off the lights – while people were still being seated.

A: A landowner has a duty to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition in view of all the circumstances, including the likelihood of injury to others, the seriousness of the injury, and the burden of avoiding the risk.  Landowners and tenants who operate places of public assembly, such as theatres, are charged with the duty of providing the public with a reasonably safe premises, including a safe means of ingress and egress.

There is no rule of thumb that a theatre must flash or dim its lights before they go off, or that house lights may not be turned off until everyone is seated.  So long as there are strips of lights on the stairs, and those lights go on when the house lights are turned off, the theatre has a good shot at establishing that it provides the public with a reasonably safe premises insofar as its lighting is concerned.

Every theatre-goer expects that the lights will be turned off before the show begins.  You will need positive evidence that the lights were turned off in a negligent fashion.  Otherwise, you will not be able to make your case that an act or omission on the part of the theatre proximately caused your injuries.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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