Smith v. Curtis Lbr. Co – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Smith v. Curtis Lbr. Co. (183 AD2d 1018, 583 N.Y.S.2d 642 3d Dept 1992, the plaintiff bought lumber from defendant's lumber yard, and then slipped and fell while trying to remove planks from one woodpile by standing on an adjoining pile in the rain (183 AD2d at 1018).

The Court, after first holding that the defendant did not have a duty to help the plaintiff load the wood, held that the danger of standing on loose wood is apparent, that the plaintiff's decision to disregard this risk was folly, and that, in language that would later be quoted in Haynie v. New York City Hous. Auth. (95 AD3d 594, 944 N.Y.S.2d 104 [1st Dept 2012], "a defendant is not required to protect a plaintiff from his own folly" (183 AD2d at 1019).