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The Janitor Did It

JanitorBy Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA "The childish propensity to intermeddle was the characteristic which the [property possessor] should have taken reasonable precautions to guard against."* Sometimes the courts come up with lyrical gems that get right to the heart of the matter. Through pages and pages of drivel, more often than not there is one pithy sentence which sums up the whole case and rule. I often wonder why the esteemed appellate justices do not just give us the facts of the case and the one pithy sentence. The books would be a lot smaller and cases a lot clearer.** The above quote comes from a case which held both a tenant and the janitor the tenant retained liable for personal injuries to a three-year-old. The proof was that the tenant was in charge of a school. The tenant also, in the same building, housed families. (It was a hotel, and the tenant was the United States Navy). The tenant retained a janitorial service to clean said school on the weekends. Said janitorial service did so. Sometimes, they would stack the furniture -- desks and chairs -- in a pile. (To make cleaning the floor easier?) One weekend, a child was present in the school. Not a stretch, considering the building also contained living quarters. He climbed up on the furniture pile and promptly fell out the window. From the fourth floor. The case had a lot to do with outdated and inapplicable classifications of the child ......
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