Nothing to do with the case

One opinion issued on Friday.

Mr. Fleurry was a developmentally delayed man who drowned in an unfenced pond on the property where he resided with his live-in caretaker. The administrator of his estate brought suit against the caretaker, the company responsible for Mr. Fleurry’s care, and the landlord. The landlord moved to dismiss. The trial court granted the motion, reasoning that landlord had no duty to construct a barrier around an open and obvious water source, even when landlord knew that a person with limited capacity and judgment would be on the property. Plaintiff moved for reconsideration and the court denied the motion, but certified the question to SCOV (this is because the trial court didn’t dismiss the whole case, just the count against the landlord).

SCOV reasons on appeal that the count has to be against the possessor of the land, not necessarily the absentee landlord. Because plaintiff didn’t allege that landlord was in possession of the property or that there was a legal relationship between Mr. Fleurry and the landlord, SCOV affirms the trial court’s dismissal of the count. Fleurry v. Dept. of Aging and Ind. Living, 2023 VT 11.