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Beekeeper gets “stung” in court.

October 1, 2017
Sanders v. Odilia’s Express, Inc., 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 317 (Del. Super. Ct. Jun. 23, 2017)

After a tractor-trailer carrying approximately 400 beehives overturned on I-95 in Delaware, a beekeeper and his fellow employees arrived on scene to recollect the bees. Unfortunately, the plaintiff was stung multiple times. As a result, he developed a permanent venom allergy, requiring him to quit the profession. He sued all the defendants involved in hiring or operating the overturned tractor-trailer. They, in turn, filed for summary judgment on the basis that the beekeeper expressly consented to the risks of the activity. The plaintiff testified that he understood the risk of being stung, wore additional protective clothing, and continued working even after being continuously stung. Nonetheless, the beekeeper argued that he did not give express consent to relieve the defendants of their obligation of care. The court granted the defendants’ motion, holding that Delaware’s “primary assumption of the risk” doctrine was met and, as a professional beekeeper, the plaintiff voluntarily assumed the risk of multiple bee stings.

Case Law Alerts, 4th Quarter, October 2017 Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2017 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

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