What do a tourist, a bag of dog poop, and a bear have in common? Premises liability. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
A man who had rented a condo in Tahoe was out on a walk with his dog when he went to throw the bag of dog poop into a dumpster but when he lifted the lid, there was a bear inside, which startled him and he fell, twisting his ankle and injuring his back. Can you imagine how hilarious that video must be? I mean—terrible that the man was hurt. He filed a lawsuit against both the homeowners association at the condo complex and Waste Management of Nevada. But really, it was the bear who caused the injury—or, more accurately, his own clumsiness. Why should the condo complex or the trash collector be responsible?
Because under the law, you are responsible if someone gets hurt by a known hazard on your property. The lawsuit alleges that the complex knew that there were tons of bears—and the company in charge of the dumpster knew that the dumpster’s supposedly bear-proof lid had been broken for months. So the man was harmed in a very foreseeable way, and now they’re the ones in deep doodoo.