Heynen v. Fairbanks

[CIVIL PROCEDURE

In Heynen v. Fairbanks,[1] the supreme court held that allowing the jury to be presented with the differing legal duties of a landlord and tenant is not an abuse of discretion.[2] In 2006, Heynen fell on the stairs of her rented apartment and subsequently suffered medical problems.[3] The apartment was located within a building leased to Julene Fairbanks.[4] Heynen sued for personal injury in 2007.[5] On appeal, Heynen argued that Julene’s presentation of the parties’ respective duties as tenant and landlord confused the jury and therefore should not have been allowed at trial.[6] The supreme court affirmed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that to not allow such presentation was antithetical to the legal system’s adversarial approach to adjudication.[7] Therefore, if the law is correctly stated, it was properly allowed.[8] The court further reasoned that Heynen’s assumption that the jury would have ruled in her favor if it were not confused was fallacious since not every personal injury is caused by someone else’s negligence.[9] Affirming the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that allowing the jury to be presented with the differing legal duties of a landlord and tenant is not an abuse of discretion.[10]


[1] 293 P.3d 470 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 478.

[3] Id. at 472.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id. at 477.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id. at 478.

Heynen v. Fairbanks

[CIVIL PROCEDURE

In Heynen v. Fairbanks,[1] the supreme court held that allowing the jury to be presented with the differing legal duties of a landlord and tenant is not an abuse of discretion.[2] In 2006, Heynen fell on the stairs of her rented apartment and subsequently suffered medical problems.[3] The apartment was located within a building leased to Julene Fairbanks.[4] Heynen sued for personal injury in 2007.[5] On appeal, Heynen argued that Julene’s presentation of the parties’ respective duties as tenant and landlord confused the jury and therefore should not have been allowed at trial.[6] The supreme court affirmed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that to not allow such presentation was antithetical to the legal system’s adversarial approach to adjudication.[7] Therefore, if the law is correctly stated, it was properly allowed.[8] The court further reasoned that Heynen’s assumption that the jury would have ruled in her favor if it were not confused was fallacious since not every personal injury is caused by someone else’s negligence.[9] Affirming the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that allowing the jury to be presented with the differing legal duties of a landlord and tenant is not an abuse of discretion.[10]


[1] 293 P.3d 470 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 478.

[3] Id. at 472.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id. at 477.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id. at 478.