Week 13 - AEM 3200 Week 13 Tort Liabilty Lecture Date...

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AEM 3200 Week 13 – Tort Liabilty Lecture Date: Monday, November 24, 2008 Lecture 1 of 1 Announcements: Reading for next week: 1. Text at 854-909 2. Cases at 135-154 I. Environmental regulations a. Prohibit certain activities b. Require a permit to act c. Require environmental impact review d. Control disposition of toxic materials and hazardous wastes i. Under “superfund” legislation, property owners are held fully liable for wastes even if those hazards were not known at the time of purchase. ii. Regulations are imposed at the federal, state, and local levels. II. Tort liability of property owners – the landowner is liable for activities conducted on the land and the condition of the property if it causes an injury or damages to others. There are two kinds of liability: a. Strict liability – when the land is used for abnormally dangerous situations, the landowner is strictly liable for any harm that may come because of the hazard (i.e., a gun range, toxic chemicals, lasting, etc). To prove strict liability, one’s injury must simply be linked to an abnormally dangerous situation that took place on a defendant’s property. i. Note also situations where a statute might call for strict liability. 1. See NY Labor Law sec. 240 where owner of property liable if a worker falls more than 20 ft from a ladder or scaffold and is injured. b. Negligence – we will look at two tests for negligence: i. The Common Law analysis: 1. First, you must classify the injured party to define the duty of care that is owed. 2. Trespassers – You may not knowingly or willfully harm a trespasser. You must also warn the trespasser of any obvious dangers (this depends highly on the facts). You may not create a trap or create a dangerous situation. 3. Example: Teen attempts to break into a vacation home through a window. The homeowner has set up a spring-loaded gun, which kills the teen. The homeowner would be liable for setting a trap, even though the child was breaking and entering. Some reasonable duty of care must still be owed (even to burglars!). a. Invitee – You owe a duty of care. b. Licensee or social guest – You owe a duty to warn of any known dangers and fix anything harmful since the social guest’s last visit. c. Examples – Kids would climb through a hole in a train yard fence. One of the trespassing kids climbed through the fence and died by touching electrical wires.
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