Fisher v. Robbins

In Fisher v. Robbins, 78 Wyo. 50, 319 P.2d 116, 117 (1957), an argument developed between two bar patrons. A police officer entered the bar and began talking to the two patrons. A third person approached them and broke a beer bottle over the head of one of the patrons who was talking to the policeman. A piece of glass from the bottle flew into the eye of yet another bar patron resulting in the loss of the eye. The Court reversed a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The Court set forth a six-part burden of proof requirement that the plaintiff had to meet in order to prevail against the bar owner. That burden of proof requirement consisted of: (1) a disturbance occurred which either did or should have attracted the defendant's attention; (2) defendant had opportunity to act; (3) defendant permitted the disturbance to continue without reasonable effort to quell the same; (4) defendant failed to give plaintiff reasonable protection; (5) there was some relationship between the disturbance and the subsequent violence; and(6) plaintiff was injured as a result of the violence. (Fisher, 319 P.2d at 118.) In Fisher, the Court found that the plaintiff's evidence did not prove that the original argument caused or inspired the violence which injured the plaintiff or that the bar owner had any opportunity to protect the plaintiff. Fisher, 319 P.2d at 126. The Court went on to hold that a mere battle of words, no matter how violent, unaccompanied by action that gives warning that violence is impending, is not enough to create a duty on the part of the bar owner. Id. at 120.