- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
- Date Filed: 01-06-2021
- Case #: A166142
- Judge(s)/Court Below: James, J. for the Court; Lagesen, P.J.; & DeVore, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Jennewein brought a negligence suit against MCI Metro, alleging she suffered a head injury in an apple store with a storage cabinet installed near a sharp corner. The trial court granted summary judgement to MCI Metro, finding that a head injury was not foreseeable because the cabinet was placed at knee-level. Jennewein assigned error to that order of summary judgement. On appeal, Jennewein argued that the court erred in concluding no reasonable juror could determine that placement of the cabinet could foreseeably injure a person. MCI Metro argued that, although some generalized injury might be foreseeable, a head injury was not reasonably foreseeable because the cabinet was placed at knee-level. "Foreseeability plays a role in at least two overlapping common-law negligence determinations: (1) whether the defendant's conduct unreasonably created a foreseeable risk of harm to a protected interest of the plaintiff such that the defendant may be held liable for that conduct—formerly described in terms of 'duty' and 'breach' as measures of negligent conduct; and (2) whether, because the risk of harm was reasonably foreseeable, the defendant may be held liable to the plaintiff for the particular harm that befell the plaintiff." Piazza v. Kellim, 360 Or 58, 70 (2016). Foreseeability is a jury question, and courts will interfere only in “extreme case[s]” where no reasonable juror could find the injury foreseeable. See McPherson v. Oregon Dept of Corrections, 210 Or App 602, 613 (2007). A general rule is foreseeability means that a reasonable person would know that the defendant’s actions would create a specific “risk of harm.” See Piazza, 360 Or at 71. Here, the Court found that foreseeability of injury to any body part would be sufficient for Jennewein to prevail. Therefore, the Court held that the order of summary judgement was in error because reasonable jurors could determine foreseeability on the record. Reversed and remanded.