Nevada High Court Rejects Lawsuit Against Homeowner

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The Nevada Supreme Court has rejected a Las Vegas woman's lawsuit seeking money from a homeowner for the nearly fatal injuries suffered when the speeding car in which she was riding crashed and ended up in the home's flowerbed.

"Imposing liability on residential landowners for injuries or fatalities suffered by motorists who leave the roadway would place an undue burden on landowners," the court ruled in upholding Clark County District Judge Michael Cherry's summary judgment against Paola Najgrodski.

Najgrodski was a passenger in a car driven by Ross Duran that was speeding through a residential neighborhood. Duran failed to stop at a dead-end, crashing his car through a cinder block wall and slamming into a flowerbed in Joseph Volpe's back yard.

A passenger, Jee Seo, was killed in the January 1997 accident. Duran was accused of involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving and placed on probation and his driver's license revoked until he was 21 years old.

Najgrodski, 16 at the time, was in a coma for six months. She suffered brain damage and requires lifelong care, the civil suit states.

Najgrodski sued Volpe and Pardee Construction Co. of Nevada claiming their negligence was at least partially to blame because of the location of the flowerbed behind the wall in Volpe's back yard.

In other rulings Wednesday, the court:

-Overturned the battery conviction of a man on grounds he couldn't be convicted both of battery and mayhem for the same act. Oscar Stanley squirted gasoline on Diane Baptist in October 2001 in Clark County and set her on fire. She suffered second- and third-degree burns. During her treatment, she developed clotting complications and had one of her legs amputated below the knee.

-Rejected a petition of Roger Libby, sentenced to death for the 1988 fatal shooting of James Robertson and Charles Beatty in a home in Winnemucca. Libby claimed his attorney was ineffective at trial.

-Upheld the sexual assault conviction of Brian E. Lepley, a substitute schoolteacher in Pahrump, who performed oral sex on a 16-year-old male student at a party where Lepley provided beer and marijuana.