O’Guin v Bingham County:A landowner’s duty to a trespasser is to refrain from willful or wanton acts which might cause injury.The issue in this case is whether D acted negligently in the death of two children and that the County was negligent per se when as a result of not following specific statutes the children were killed in a county landfill. The rule regarding this case comes from Idaho Code Section 39-7401(2) and how negligence per se is applied to accidents caused when the statutory standard is not met. In order to replace a common law duty of care with a duty of care for a statute or regulation the following elements must be met: (1)the statute or regulation must clearly define the required standard of conduct; (2) the statute or regulation must have been intended to prevent the type of harm the D’s act or omission caused; (3) the P must be a member of the class of persons the statute or regulation was designed to protect; and (4) theviolation must have been the proximate cause of the injury. The Court found that the first element was not met because the County was required to fence or block entry to the landfill at all times and during the time the boys got into the landfill their entry was not blocked. The second element was said to be met because of the specific language of the statute in which they reference “safeguarding human health.” The third element is met because the children are among the class of people the statute looks to help. The Fourth element is also met because there is a disputed issue as the County’s violation of the statute and regulations ended in the death of the children. The Court vacated the summary judgement and remanded the case for further proceedings. The dissenting opinion gives a better understanding of the statute and emphasizes that themajority opinion erred in stating the statute protected harm from coming to trespassers when it was intended to prevent people from entering to dump harmful materials that could happen to thepublic at large. Unexcused violation of applicable statute is generally negligence per seStatute itself “SUPPLANTS” the common law standard of care.Violation of the statute establishes the Duty owed and the breach of duty.***Ultimate decision concerning negligence is for the jury.Willful or Wanton – Common Law standardOrdinary Standard - StatuteWillful or Wanton:A course of action which shows actual or deliberate intention to harm or which, if not intentional, shows an utter indifference to or conscious disregard of a person’s own safety of others. Such an act is more than negligence or gross negligence.Impson v Structural Metals Inc.:20
The issue in this case is whether the D was able to excuse its violation of the statute prohibiting passing within 100ft of an intersection. This also asks the question of what excuses orjustifications are legally acceptable.
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- Spring '08