Roberts v. State of Louisiana
COA LA - 1981
- Burson was a blind man who operated a concession stand in a post office in Louisiana. Burson left his stand to go to the bathroom and did not carry his cane.
- On his way there, Burson collided with P (a 75-year-old man) and broke P's hip.
- P sued the state in negligence under respondeat superior.
- Trial court dismissed P's claim.
- LA COA affirmed, dismissed P's claim.
- Is there a different standard of care necessary in negligence cases involving physically handicapped people?
- The standard of care differs between ordinary people and those with physical handicaps when dealing in negligence.
- The court must find that Burson was negligent in order to find the state liable.
- From Prosser, a blind man cannot be held to the same standard of care as a man who is not.
- The conduct of a person with a handicap must be reasonable in light of "his knowledge of his infirmity, which is treated merely as one of the circumstances under which he acts."
- Burson stated that he used his facial sense to find his way and that he knew the building very well.
- Experts testified that blind people do not usually use their canes when they know the building.
- Thus, P failed to show that Burson was negligent in the way that he was walking or that he was not paying attention.