Roy v. StateAnnotate this Case
In 2008, Brett Roy broke his neck when diving into a pond at World War II Veterans Memorial Park in Woonsocket. Roy and his wife (Plaintiffs) filed suit against the State, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), and two DEM employees (collectively, the State), alleging negligence and premises liability. After a trial, the jury returned a verdict for the State, concluding that the State had not “willfully or maliciously failed to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity at the pond.” The trial court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for a new trial after denying both parties’ motions for judgment as a matter of law. The State appealed, arguing that the trial justice erred in granting Plaintiffs’ motion for a new trial and that the State owed no duty to Roy. Plaintiffs cross-appealed. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court and remanded with instructions to enter judgment for the State, holding that the State bore no liability for Roy’s injuries, either because diving is an open and obvious danger or because it is protected under the Recreational Use Statute, and therefore, the trial justice erred in denying the State’s motion for judgment as a matter of law.