As Pedestrians Exited at the Close of an Arts and Crafts Show, Jason Davis, an Employer of the Show's Producer, Stood Near the Exit. Suddenly, Without Warning, Davis Turned Around and Collided with Yvonne Espostio, an

As pedestrians exited at the close of an arts and crafts show, Jason Davis, an employer of the show's producer, stood near the exit. Suddenly, without warning, Davis turned around and collided with Yvonne Esposito, an 80-year-old woman.   Esposito was knocked to the ground, fracturing her hip.   After hip replacement surgery, she was left with a physical impairment. Esposito filed suit in a federal district court against Davis and others, alleging negligence.
Generally, negligence is defined as conduct which falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against an unreasonable risk of harm. The Louisiana law governing trip-and-fall cases was recently detailed in Frelow v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 631 So.2d 632, 635 (La.Ct.App. 1994).   The U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that there are three factors that indicate whether Davis owed Esposito a duty of care. The three factors are: the likelihood that his conduct will injure others, taken with the seriousness of the injury if it happens, and balanced against the cost of the precaution he must take to avoid the risk. If the product of the likelihood of the injury exceeds the burden of the precautions, the risk is unreasonable and the failure to take precautions is negligence.
Louisiana law states that employees have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care not to obstruct the flow of pedestrian traffic. The court held that the employer was negligent in not providing reasonable care, and not making reasonable efforts to see that there was an unobstructed means for the free flow of pedestrian traffic from entering or exiting the place of business.
In this case, Davis had been standing in the same spot, talking with another employee for an estimated ten minutes before the event ended. According to court testimony, Davis was also aware that elderly persons would be exiting the building, and he also stated that before he turned, he did not look to see if any persons were walking in the...