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Wilk v. Georges


    Citation. Wilk v. Georges, 267 Ore. 19, 514 P.2d 877, 1973 Ore. LEXIS 266 (Or. 1973)

    Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Wilk (Plaintiff), was injured when she slipped and fell on wet flanks at Defendant, George’s (Defendant) garden supply and nursery shop. Defendant had placed signs warning of the wet conditions.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. If a condition is unreasonably dangerous, the owner of the premises must take reasonable and feasible steps to eliminate the danger.


    Facts. The Defendant operated a garden supply and nursery business. Plaintiff and her husband visited Defendant’s nursery to purchase a Christmas tree. Plaintiff slipped and fell on a plank walkway, injuring herself. A jury returned a verdict for the Defendant and Plaintiff appeals.

    Issue. Was the trial court correct in giving an instruction to the jury stating that if a customer knows of a dangerous condition or if the condition is obvious, there is no duty for the owner to correct or warn of the condition unless the owner should anticipate the dangerous condition will cause physical harm?

    Held. No. Judgment reversed and remanded.
    * The Defendant in this case admitted that he knew the planks on which Plaintiff slipped were slippery and dangerous. To counteract the danger, Defendant placed asphalt material on the steps and posted warning signs informing customers of the danger and disclaiming responsibility for injuries. Plaintiff and her husband testified that they did not see the signs.
    * Plaintiff claims that the court’s instruction was erroneous because it allows for Defendant to satisfy his legal obligation to Plaintiff by merely posting a warning. According to Dean Prosser, [Prosser, Torts (4th ed.) 394, 395, Section: 61] where the possessor should anticipate an unreasonable risk of harm, “something more in the way of precaution may be required.” The jury should have been instructed that if the condition that existed was unreasonably dangerous, the owner of the premises is obligated to do more than post warning signs.

    Discussion. A defendant may be found to be negligent if it is not too difficult to eliminate the danger and he should reasonably anticipate the plaintiff might be injured by it.


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