|dc.description.abstract||2018 Supreme Court Celebration Competition problem
Stark v. City of Kings Landing
Ned Stark, owner of Winterfell Welding & Services, was hired by Lyanna Mormont to thaw a frozen water line at her home in Kings Landing. Stark disconnected Mormont’s water meter. He connected the positive electrode of his arc welder to Mormont’s plumbing system and the negative to the curb shutoff at the neighboring residence of Meera Reed, after the City’s Water Department employee could not locate the curb shutoff valve for the Mormont home. It is undisputed that the City employee advised Stark the curb stop was for a neighboring residence, and Stark alone was responsible for attaching his negative cable to said curb stop.
Shortly after Stark finished thawing Mormont’s frozen water line, the Tarly home adjacent to the Reed residence caught fire and sustained damages in excess of $368,000. The Tarlys filed a homeowners claim with Ironbank Insurance, who then filed a negligence action against Ned Stark, alleging that he allowed electrical current into the Tarly home to cause the fire.
Stark filed a Cross-Petition to implead the City and seek contribution/indemnity. Stark asserted he was acting in concert with the City when thawing the pipes, and the location of curb stops was the independent duty of the City. The City later filed a Motion for Summary Judgment claiming statutory immunity. The court denied the City’s motion after hearing differing expert opinions as to who caused the damage.
The trial court sustained a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Plaintiff Ironbank. The court noted that experts agreed the fire started with electricity flowing from Stark’s arc welder into the Tarly residence. The court concluded as a matter of law that Stark owed a duty to exercise reasonable care, and his breach of that duty caused the fire. The trial court sustained a Motion to Reconsider by the City after it reasserted its statutory immunity claim. The trial court dismissed Stark’s cross-petition against the City with prejudice. Stark filed this appeal of the order dismissing his cross petition.||