Torts & Owners/Occupiers of Land

  1. Negligence - Possessors of Land
    • Jurisdictional divide.
    • Some jurisdictions require same standard of care to all persons who enter upon the land, be they invitee, licensee or trespasser.
    • The other traditional jurisdictions impose differing duties based upon the entry. MD is a traditional jurisdiction.
  2. Duty of Care to Trespasser
    • Possessor is obligated from willful or wanton misconduct or reckless harm.
    • Discovered or anticipated trespassers must be warned/protected against hidden dangers, but no duty to warn against natural conditions which don’'t pose risk of death.
  3. Duty of Care to Trespasser: MD
    MD: duty to refrain from willful or wanton harm or entrapment.
  4. Duty of Care to Trespasser - attractive nuisance
    • Attractive nuisance doctrine – possessor of land liability for injuries to children who trespass if (1) artificial condition exists (2) where owner knows or has reason to know children are likely to trespass (3) where the possessor knows/has reason to know that the artificial condition poses an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily injury, (4) children, because of their youth, do not discover or cannot appreciate the danger, (5) utility slight to risk of injury, and (6) possessor fails to exercise reasonable care.
    • MD: this is not a doctrine recognized by the courts.
  5. Duty of Care to Licensee
    • A person who enters the land with express or implied permission.
    • Possessor has duty to correct or warn licensees of concealed dangers.
    • No duty to inspect, and possessor must exercise reasonable care in conducting activities on the land.
  6. MD: Duty of Care to Bare Licensee
    Bare licensee is a person who is on the land by permission for the licensee’s own purpose. Owed duty to refrain from willful/wanton harm and entrapment.
  7. MD: Duty of Care to Licensee by Invitation
    • Licensee by invitation is a social guest – same duty of care to family members.
    • Owner must exercise reasonable care to make the premises safe or warn of dangerous conditions which cannot be reasonably discovered and are not uncovered by the licensee by invitation.
  8. Duty of Care to Invitee
    • A person who comes onto the land for the possessor’s purpose or a joint purpose.
    • The possessor owes a duty of reasonable care which cannot be delegated to an independent contractor.
  9. MD: Duty of Care to Invitee
    Owner must exercise reasonable care to keep premises safe to protect invitee from injury caused by unreasonable risk that would not be discovered.
  10. Duty of Care for Landlords
    Landlords are liable for (1) injuries in common areas, (2) injuries from hidden dangers about which the landlord did not warn the tenant, (3) injuries from premises that are leased for public use, or (4) injuries from a hazard which the landlord has agreed to repair.
  11. Duty of Care to Off-premises victims
    • Natural conditions - land possessor is generally not liable for injuries (exception: trees in urban areas).
    • Artificial conditions – land possessor must prevent unreasonable risk of harm to persons not on the premises.
    • Duty of reasonable care in conducting activities on the land.
  12. Duty of Care for Sellers of real property
    Duty to disclose concealed and unreasonably dangerous conditions known to the seller, which extends until the buyer has a reasonable opportunity to discover and remedy the defect.
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Torts & Owners/Occupiers of Land