We hail these men for their courageous endeavors, and regretfully say goodbye to a hero.
In this case, I see “the problem” as a poorly secured construction site. Under Arizona law, this might well classify as an “attractive nuisance”. Under this legal doctrine, a landowner (or contractor) may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land, if the injury is caused by “a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition”. The doctrine has been applied to hold landowners liable for injuries caused by abandoned cars, piles of lumber or sand, trampolines, and swimming pools.
Further, under Arizona law, it would be quite difficult for the landowner to allege that the boys should have been more careful. Under Arizona law, children under the age of 7 are presumed to be incapable of negligence. They do not have the education or capacity to necessarily determine right from wrong. Children age 7-14 may be held negligent, but it is to be determined on a case by case basis.
In Arizona, we have a TON of construction. Securing construction sites can become a costly expense, but isn’t that a part of the cost of doing business? Surely it is not possible to address every danger that could arise at a construction site, and indeed, the law does not require such. Reasonable measures are all that are required, unless the landowner or contractor has some specific knowledge of a particular danger posed to children or others in the area.
I think the landowners and/or contractor was very negligent in this case. Our sympathies go out to this fallen hero’s family.