Burn victim's claim of excessively hot water in apartment is summarily rejected
Maria Viramontez sued the owners of her Martin Gardens' apartment, arguing that they failed to comply with state laws requiring safe premises and regular inspections. The plaintiff suffered multiple burns on her right side after fainting in her shower. She presented the testimony of two experts to document her claim that the shower water was unreasonably hot and not in conformity with code requirements.
There was some ambiguity in the experts' testimony, however, and apparently they could not prove that the water temperature exceeded 120 degrees. In addition, there was at least a suggestion that the woman may have been exposed to water at 110 degrees for more than 10 minutes--an exposure that might cause similar burn injuries. Relying on these uncertainties, the court held that the victim could not prove that the water that burned her was dispensed at an unsafe temperature.
The woman also argued that the plumbing system was prone to "temperature surges" and that a warning in the mechanical room advised the owners of this risk. The Court ruled that since she had previously experienced "unacceptable heat" on many occasions and "merely turned it down," the defective plumbing system was an "open and obvious" danger which the owners owed no duty to remedy.