Date: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019 by Michaela Hickson.
On January the 14th, the Supreme Court of Norway handed down a ruling on whether a fitness center was liable on a non-statutory objective basis (strictly liable), after one of the members of the fitness center fell off a spinning bike as a result of a break in one of the seat bolts. Yngve Skogrand, lawyer and partner at the law firm RIISA, litigated the case for the fitness center and their liability insurance company Sparebank1 Skadeforsikring AS.
The appeal from the fitness center and the liability insurance company was successful. The Supreme Court unanimously finds that the strict liability presupposes that “a risk with certain characteristics” is present, and that case law has emphasized whether the risk is continuous, typical and extraordinary. The Supreme Court points out that recent case law has particularly highlighted the question of whether or not the risk is extraordinary. The Supreme Court notes that the question of who is closer to bearing the burden of risk “becomes relevant only if there is an extraordinary risk”. Hence the ruling goes further than previous case law from the Supreme Court in clarifying this point, that strict liability depends on an assessment in two stages where the risk assessment is the essential part. The Supreme Court finds it clear that the fitness center does not create a risk that exceeds any risk of regular daily life. Therefore a “fundamental condition for strict liability is not met.”
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