Negligence Standard. An association is not strictly liable for injuries caused by broken irrigation sprinkler. The use of sprinklers to irrigate landscaping is not an ultrahazardous activity. Thus, ordinary negligence rules govern the allocation of any risk posed by their use. An injured party must produce evidence the association or its landscape contractor knew a sprinkler was likely to break, how it broke, the standard of care applicable to maintenance of a sprinkler system by a homeowners' association or landscaping contractor, or any evidence they breached the standard of care.
Issues to Examine. Plaintiff must prove why the sprinkler head broke. Was it incorrectly installed? Even if it was incorrectly installed, did the association install it or was aware of the installation defect? Was the malfunction caused by a design defect? Or a manufacturing defect? Did it simply wear out because, as a mechanical device exposed to pressure, water, and sunlight, it could not be expected to last forever? Did someone vandalize the sprinkler head? (Abounassar v. Stay Green.)
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