Moses v. Bridgeman

In Moses v. Bridgeman (2003) 355 Ark. 460 139 S.W.3d 503 (Moses), the Supreme Court of Arkansas affirmed a summary judgment in favor of the homeowners after a 12-year-old child drowned in their pool. The child and his family were invited to the premises to plan a family reunion. The child's mother was present and supervising him. The homeowner provided life jackets for the children who wanted to swim and insisted that they wear them. Later, the child was found at the bottom of the pool without his life jacket, having died from drowning. The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that " 'If a condition is open and obvious rather than latent or obscure, no greater duty is imposed upon a host of a child under parental supervision than would be owed to the parent. If the parent has either been warned, or if the condition is or should be obvious to the parent, the parent's failure properly to supervise its child is the proximate cause of a subsequent injury. The host is not negligent because he has performed his duty of having the premises as safe for his guest as for his family and himself.' " (Moses, supra, 139 S.W. at pp. 509-510.) After noting that a swimming pool is an open and obvious danger for children and adults, the court held that "we do not impose a greater duty upon the host, Mrs. Bridgeman, than would be imposed on the parent, Ms. Frye. ... Mrs. Bridgeman took steps to make the premises safe by providing the children with life jackets. The fact that the child took his life jacket off when his mother had the responsibility for supervising him, and that he drowned as a result, should not be construed as a breach of duty of care owed by Mrs. Bridgeman." (Id. at p. 510.)