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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Teenagers Michael Spears, Katherine Coffee and Billy Cockle were at the Coffees’ home in September 2000. The teens frequently gathered at the Coffees’ house without incident, but on this occasion, Billy hit Michael in the face. Michael’s parents, Walter and Connie, called the police. Billy was later arrested and convicted of criminal assault. The Spearses sued Billy, Billy’s parents and Darrell and Jennifer Coffee for negligence. The Coffees moved for summary judgment, on the grounds that they did not owe Michael a duty, and, even if they did, Billy’s intervening criminal conduct was a superseding cause of Michael’s injuries. The trial court granted the motion without stating its reasons, and the claims against the Coffees’ were severed. On appeal the Spearses argue the Coffees owed Michael a general duty in negligence to protect Michael from a foreseeable risk. Alternatively, they argue the Coffees had a specific duty as owners and occupiers of the property where Michael was injured. HOLDING:Affirmed. The facts reflected in the Coffees’ summary judgment proof conclusively established that Billy’s intentional criminal act was a superseding cause of Michael’s injuries. The harm inflicted by Billy was different in kind from that generally contemplated by the Coffees when the teenagers were present in their home. The teens frequently engaged in “horseplay” and “roughhousing” while watching television, playing pool and swimming, but violent conduct was “extraordinary” and not “normal.” Additional factors focusing on Billy’s wrongful conduct and degree of culpability support the conclusion that Billy’s acts were a superseding cause of Michael’s injuries, because Billy’s acts were clearly wrongful, and he was found criminally liable. By establishing superseding cause, the Coffees also negated the ordinary foreseeability element of proximate cause. Once this element was negated, the Spearses could defeat summary judgment only by presenting evidence that, despite the “extraordinary” and “abnormal” nature of the intervening force, there was some indication at the time of the assault that such a crime would be committed. Though the Spearses offered evidence that Billy had angry outbursts and attended an alternative school, there is nothing to suggest that the Coffees were aware of any specific incidents. There was no evidence, either, that Billy ever acted in a disruptive or violent manner in the Coffees’ home. OPINION:Marion, J.; Angelini, Marion and Speedlin, JJ.

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