Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

You Be the Judge

Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

You Be the Judge

Article excerpt

ONE EVENING, ROBERT SCOTT rented a large U-Haul truck and loaded it with furniture that he intended to bring to an auction house the next day. The following morning, Scott drove the U-Haul to his office in Oklahoma City. For over two years, Scott routinely parked his Ford Explorer on the upper deck of his office parking garage, and this day was no different, except for the fact he was driving a U-Haul truck that required a clearance of 11 feet. As Scott entered the access ramp for the upper deck, the truck suddenly hit a large overhead clearance beam. The collision knocked the beam loose from its anchors, and it fell on the cab, crushing it and rendering Scott a quadriplegic.

The garage had installed a 26-foot steel beam, weighing approximately 1,840 pounds, across the ramp entrance to prohibit vehicles taller than 8 feet 6 inches from entering and parking on the upper level, thereby avoiding any risk of falling through to the level below. The barrier was securely anchored to concrete with expansion bolts, and the beam was clearly marked with a warning sign in lo-inch letters that read: "No Trucks. Visitor Parking. Clearance 8'6".

Even though Scott had parked on the upper deck for years, he never noticed the beam or sign, until striking it that morning. Scott and his family brought a lawsuit against the owners and management, alleging: negligence; failure to warn and foresee; and for creating a hidden snare, trap, or pitfall through their installation of a beam which toppled easily and posed serious danger of injury by its weight. …

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