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Dedeaux v. Lake Caroline Owners Ass'n

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 9, 2014

MARILYN DEDEAUX AND RUSSELL GUYMON, APPELLANTS
v.
LAKE CAROLINE OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: MADISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/15/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHN HUEY EMFINGER. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: GRANTED SUMMARY JUDGMENT TO APPELLEE.

FOR APPELLANTS: J. PEYTON RANDOLPH II, SHERRIE LYNN DEWOLF.

FOR APPELLEE: JAMES SCOTT ROGERS, JAMES LEROY BANKS IV.

BEFORE CARLTON, P.J., MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ. GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. IRVING, P.J., AND JAMES, J., CONCUR IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION. LEE, C.J., NOT PARTICIPATING.

OPINION

Page 1011

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - PERSONAL INJURY

MAXWELL, J.

¶1. Eugune Owen crashed his speed boat into Russell Guymon's pontoon boat, injuring Guymon as well as fellow passenger Marilyn Dedeaux. Dedeaux and Guymon blame their injuries not just on Owen, but also their neighborhood association, which owns the private lake where the boat wreck occurred. But the neighborhood association was not the insurer of Dedeaux and Guymon's safety and cannot be held strictly liable simply because an injury occurred on the lake. Instead, the association only had a duty to protect Dedeaux and Guymon from reasonably foreseeable injuries at the hand of a third party.

¶2. To be reasonably foreseeable, the association must have had " cause to anticipate" Owen's actions because Owen had a specific history of careless boating or because the lake had a general history of negligence among its boaters. Here, Dedeaux and Guymon failed to present any evidence of either. While they point to another boat wreck that occurred on the lake six years before theirs, considering the lake had more than 700 registered boats, we find this single incident, removed in time, was not enough to establish the incident with Owen was reasonably foreseeable.

¶3. Thus, Dedeaux and Guymon failed to establish their neighborhood association had a duty to protect them from Owen's negligent act. We therefore affirm the grant of summary judgment in favor of the association.

Background

¶4. Dedeaux, Guymon, and Owen were all residents of Lake Caroline neighborhood in Madison County, Mississippi. In the middle of Lake Caroline sits an 800-acre lake, owned and operated by the Lake Caroline Owners Association (LCOA).

Page 1012

¶5. On a summer night in 2011, after sunset, Dedeaux and Guymon, along with their respective spouses, were sitting in Guymon's pontoon boat, anchored in the middle of the lake. Owen was speeding across the water when he took a hard turn and crashed into Guymon's boat. Dedeaux and Guymon were tossed into the ...


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