United States District Court, D. Nevada
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
ANDREW P. GORDON, District Judge.
Findings of Fact
1. At the time of the incident involved in this case, plaintiff Vicki Nihart was a citizen and resident of Clark County, Nevada. She is now a citizen and resident of Texas.
2. The United States installed and owns a low-water boat launch ramp at Callville Bay, which is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, an area under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service ("NPS").
3. Due to low-water conditions at Lake Mead, the low water ramp was in use by boaters on August 15, 2010.
4. The low-water boat launch area at Callville Bay includes a relatively flat area for preparing boats for launch (the Prep Area), a sloped ramp area (the Ramp) from which boats are launched, and an adjacent sidewalk (the Sidewalk) for use by pedestrians walking from the Prep Area to the water and floating dock.
5. The Ramp has grooved concrete pavement to ensure good traction by vehicles. The Ramp also has a few depressions in its concrete surface approximately 18 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep. The depressions are located approximately in the middle of the width of the Ramp. Installed in these depressions are metal dock anchors, which can be used to hold the steel cable that is attached to and secures a floating dock, which is adjacent to the area where boats enter the water. The dock anchors are necessary features of the Ramp's design and construction. Each anchor is a 5/8" steel loop approximately 3 inches above the surface of the depression. There are no visible warnings posted at or about the anchor depressions.
6. On August 15, 2010, Ms. Nihart drove to the Callville Bay low-water boat launch area with friends to boat on Lake Mead. She had been to the same boat launch area with the same friends and boat the previous day.
7. Ms. Nihart was wearing foam flip-flops on her feet on August 15. She had a cast on her right hand and arm due to a prior accident.
8. On August 15, after her group arrived at the Prep Area, Ms. Nihart got into the driver's seat of the truck that was pulling the boat trailer and drove it gradually down the Ramp toward the water as the other people in her group prepared the boat for launching.
9. As their truck and trailer neared the water, Ms. Nihart asked her friend Jack to take over driving as she was uncomfortable turning the truck and trailer around and backing it into the water. Ms. Nihart exited the truck, walked up the Ramp a few feet to the boat on the trailer, and retrieved some items. She then walked back down the Ramp a few feet toward the truck cab.
10. Before she reached the truck cab, Ms. Nihart's left foot caught on one of the dock anchor depressions and she tripped and fell on the Ramp. Ms. Nihart tumbled several feet down the Ramp. She injured her knees and received bruises and lacerations on her hands, wrists and feet.
11. Ms. Nihart was treated on the scene by park rangers, and then she was taken by her friends to St. Rose Hospital in Henderson, Nevada. She received stiches in her left knee and a walking cast for her left leg.
12. Ms. Nihart had a lifelong condition known as hammer-toe in both her left and right feet. This condition was not ...