Landlord-Tenant - Immunity - New Hampshire Abrogates Landlord's Limited Tort Immunity and Imposes Reasonable Man Standard - Sargent v. Ross - N.H. - 308 A.2d 528 (1973)
Walbran, Mark M.
INTRODUCTION|A child fell to her death from a steep outdoor stairway which led to the second story apartment of her babysitter. The child's mother sued the landlord for negligence. The landlord, in turn, raised the ancient defense of landlord tort immunity. In Sargent v. Ross, [Sargent], the Supreme Court of New Hampshire rejected the defense and held the landlord responsible for the child's death caused by her negligence. SARGENT v. ROSS An outdoor stairway rises steeply from the rear courtyard of a residential building in Nashua, New Hampshire, to the second story apartment of Simone Ross. The stairway, constructed some ten years ago, is an improvement to the building where Simone and her husband have lived for more than thirty years. Before the stairway was built, Simone's family and guests had used an interior staircase which leads to an upstairs hall from the living room of the ground floor apartment where Fabiola Ross, her mother-in-law, lives. Fabiola owns the four apartment dwellings; the two remaining apartments are occupied by other relatives. The outdoor stairway was added to serve as the entrance for Simone's family and friends, and for Mrs. Tina Sargent's two children for whom Simone was the daily babysitter. One afternoon, Anna Marie Sargent, age four, fell from this stairway to the ground below. She died four days later. The child's mother sued the landlord Fabiola, for negligent construction and maintenance of the stairway." The jury, which had a...
7 Creighton L. Rev. 694 (1973-1974)
Creighton University School of Law