Main Content

Main Content

Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2013

Harper v. Herman

Headnote

Does being a social host create additional duties to guests? Should an individual’s superior knowledge of a dangerous condition require him or her to disclose that danger? Defendant—an experienced boat owner—invited his friends on a boat outing. Plaintiff was brought along the outing by one of the invited guests. Prior to the outing, plaintiff and defendant did not know each other. The defendant took the group out to a spot where he knew the water was deep enough for swimming but too shallow for diving. After asking if the defendant was going into the water and receiving an affirmative, the plaintiff dove into the water without warning. As a result of the dive, plaintiff struck the bottom of the lake and severed his spinal cord, rendering himself a quadriplegic.