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Lee v. Willis Enterprises, 194 Wn.App. 394 (2016)

The Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment ruling finding the defendant negligent for sticking a screwdriver into an energized high voltage electrical device. Rejecting the defense argument that the foreseeability of an arc blast and injury to a bystander were questions of fact for the jury, the court held that “it is foreseeable as a matter of law that serious injury could result from careless behavior while working in and around energized high-voltage electrical equipment.”

The Court also rejected the defendant’s claim that he reasonably relied upon the plaintiff’s alleged silence as an implied assurance that it was safe to stick the screwdriver into the energized drive.  The Court found that there was no authority holding that silence and inaction can give rise to an implied assurance of safety, and that an implied assurance of safety would not absolve a defendant’s own negligence.

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