The Show Must Go Off

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Q: At the Lagoons, I was conducting the first rehearsal for my play, walking toward the stage and giving directions to the actors.  Although the stage was lit, the area where I was walking was dark.  All of a sudden, my right foot went off an unguarded edge of the walkway, and I fell into a deep water-filled trench.

In the area where my accident occurred, the owner had removed the railings and required that the lights be kept off.  Once the railing system was removed, the trenches next to the stage were left unprotected, without any warnings or illumination around them to warn of the height differential, whereas the other trenches within the venue were protected by permanent railings.

A: An owner of property or tenant in possession of real property has a duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition.  Whether a dangerous or defective condition exists on the property of another so as to create liability depends on the peculiar facts and circumstances of each case.  A condition may be rendered a trap for the unwary where the condition is obscured.

It appears that the owner retained control by making the ultimate decision as to whether the railings would be removed, removing that railing, and controlling the condition of the lighting during the rehearsal.  Moreover, the condition was not what lawyers call ‘open and obvious’.  For that matter, the unguarded trench was downright inherently dangerous.

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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