Paul Rajkowski and Steven Bader win summary judgment in burn injury case

Attorneys Paul Rajkowski and Steven Bader won summary judgment in a case in Chaska County involving burn injuries to a child. The child-plaintiff visited our client's home with her step-mother for an annual Fourth of July celebration. The plaintiff and several other children played in our client's backyard in the afternoon. The plaintiff's step-mother went inside our client's home and left the plaintiff unattended outside. The plaintiff tripped and fell into a fire pit in the backyard and suffered burn injuries. The plaintiff sued and alleged our client's negligence caused her alleged injuries.

The District Court dismissed the claims against our client with prejudice. First, the Court found our client did not have a duty to supervise the plaintiff. Responsibility for the supervision of a child rests with the child's parent. That duty can only be transferred to a third-party upon express or implied consent. The undisputed facts showed our client did not agree, expressly or by implication, to supervise the plaintiff. Second, the Court found our client did not breach her duty as a landowner to keep her property in a safe condition. The fire pit presented an open and obvious risk. The step-mother warned the plaintiff several times to not play near the fire pit. Based on this record, the Court found no genuine disputes of material fact and ordered judgment in favor of our client.