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Boltax v. Joy Day Camp

Court of Appeals of the State of New York
Jan 14, 1986
67 N.Y.2d 617 (N.Y. 1986)

Summary

finding reckless conduct of plaintiff was an unforeseeable superseding event where plaintiff was an experienced swimmer, knowledgeable about the general dangers of diving, who admitted his familiarity with the various water levels at each part of the pool and yet chose to dive head-first from a lifeguard chair into the shallow end

Summary of this case from Brown v. U.S.

Opinion

Decided January 14, 1986

Appeal from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Second Judicial Department, Aaron F. Goldstein, J.

James P. Kreindler for appellant.

John B. Shields and Patricia N. Cirillo for Joy Day Camp, respondent.

Harry P. Brett for Flushing County Day School, Inc., respondent.



MEMORANDUM.

The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed, with costs.

To establish a prima facie case of negligence, a "plaintiff must generally show that the defendant's negligence was a substantial cause of the events which produced the injury" (Derdiarian v Felix Contr. Corp., 51 N.Y.2d 308, 315). When an intervening act also contributes to the plaintiff's injuries, "liability turns upon whether the intervening act is a normal or foreseeable consequence of the situation created by the defendant's negligence" (Derdiarian v Felix Contr. Corp., 51 N.Y.2d, at p 315, supra). Assuming for purposes of this motion for summary judgment that defendants' alleged negligence — allowing trespassers to gain entry to the pool area and dangerously maintaining the pool by having it filled below capacity and by placing a lifeguard chair near the pool's shallow end — was a causative factor in plaintiff's injuries, the reckless conduct of plaintiff, an adult experienced in swimming and knowledgeable about the general dangers of diving, who admitted his familiarity with the various water levels at each part of the pool, yet chose to dive head first from the lifeguard chair into shallow water, was an unforeseeable superseding event that absolves defendants of liability (see, Prosser and Keeton, Torts § 44, at 313-314 [5th ed 1984]; Basso v Miller, 40 N.Y.2d 233, 241 ["foreseeability shall be a measure of (a landowner's) liability"]). "[W]here only one conclusion may be drawn from the established facts * * * the question of legal cause may be decided as a matter of law" (Derdiarian v Felix Contr. Corp., supra, at p 315).

Chief Judge WACHTLER and Judges MEYER, SIMONS, KAYE, ALEXANDER and TITONE concur; Judge HANCOCK, JR., taking no part.

On review of submissions pursuant to section 500.4 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals (22 N.Y.CRR 500.4), order affirmed, with costs, in a memorandum.


Summaries of

Boltax v. Joy Day Camp

Court of Appeals of the State of New York
Jan 14, 1986
67 N.Y.2d 617 (N.Y. 1986)

finding reckless conduct of plaintiff was an unforeseeable superseding event where plaintiff was an experienced swimmer, knowledgeable about the general dangers of diving, who admitted his familiarity with the various water levels at each part of the pool and yet chose to dive head-first from a lifeguard chair into the shallow end

Summary of this case from Brown v. U.S.

In Boltax v. Joy Day Camp, 67 N.Y.2d 617, 499 N.Y.S.2d 660, 490 N.E.2d 527 (1986), New York's highest court assumed that the landowner's alleged negligence in allowing trespassers to gain entry to a swimming pool area, dangerously maintaining an inadequate level of water in the pool, and placing a lifeguard's chair at its shallow end was negligence that was a causative factor in plaintiff's injuries.

Summary of this case from Caraballo v. U.S.

In Boltax and Smith, the Court of Appeals held under the facts presented in each case that an unfortunate and improvident dive into the shallow water of a pool was as a matter of law the proximate cause of the resulting injuries.

Summary of this case from Howard v. Poseidon Pools

In Boltax the water in the shallow end of the in-ground pool where the dive took place "came up only to his [the plaintiff's] waist."

Summary of this case from Howard v. Poseidon Pools
Case details for

Boltax v. Joy Day Camp

Case Details

Full title:MARK BOLTAX, Appellant, v. JOY DAY CAMP, Also Known as KISSENA PARK JEWISH…

Court:Court of Appeals of the State of New York

Date published: Jan 14, 1986

Citations

67 N.Y.2d 617 (N.Y. 1986)
499 N.Y.S.2d 660
490 N.E.2d 527

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