Premises Liability and the Spanish Trains

My buddy Dave went with me to Spain when we were in college. Mostly we went to study the language, but Spain has a lot to offer.

We lived in the City of Dénia on the Costa Blanca but we went to Madrid as often as we could, and Alicante, and Barcelona.

We always traveled on a budget, which meant third class in trains. The train cars have compartments which are like separate rooms for the passengers. Each compartment seats 12 people on two bench seats facing each other – six on one seat and six on the other.

Once we rode for seven hours with a group of roma gypsies. They sang almost the whole way and shared their lunch with us. We shared our cigarettes with them. Dave had a harmonica in his backpack and he played Bob Dylan songs when there was a break in the action. “Johnny’s in the basement mixing up the medicine, I’m on the pavement thinkin’ ‘bout the government….”

The train stations in small Spanish towns were dangerous places. Maybe they’ve changed now. No guardrails or warning signs. Just a platform to walk on to board your train.

I often wondered if anyone ever tripped and fell off those platforms on to the tracks.

I’m not sure how it works in Spain, but in Michigan, premises owners have to take certain steps to make their property safe if they are inviting the public onto their property for business purposes.

Mostly, the cases turn on the nature of the dangerous condition and whether or not it was open and obvious. Premises liability cases are tricky and require an experienced attorney to handle them properly.

If you ever get to Spain, go to Dénia in March, to the Fallas celebration. Dave and I stayed up for a day and a half with a Moorish-themed club whose members feigned grievances over the long ago Reconquista.

The club president was a large basque named Arkaitz. I joked with him about holding a grudge for 800 years. He laughed and made us feel welcome. At night, he led his all-male club members slowly through the narrow streets singing songs and dancing.

At the end of the celebration they burn the Fallas. Everyone watches them go up. It’s called La Cremà.

Then, the celebration is over.

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