Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Status or classification of one who is upon the property of another is not to be determinative of the occupant's responsibility or the degree of care which he owes to that person. Rather, the occupant, in the management of his property, should act as a reasonable man in view of the probability or foreseeability of injury to others.
Plaintiff, a two-year-old child, sustained injuries when she was splashed with burning gasoline while she was visiting her grandparents, who operated a farm for the landowner. Plaintiff, along with other children including the 13-year-old son of the landowner's lessor, had been roasting marshmallows. After experiencing difficulty in starting the fire, the 13-year-old went to a gasoline storage tank on the premises and drained a small quantity of gasoline out of its hose into a tin can. After the gasoline was ignited, the boy dropped the can into a bucket of water, splashing plaintiff. Plaintiff, by her parents, brought an action against the landowner. The trial court directed a verdict for the landowner. Plaintiff appealed.
Was the evidence presented by the plaintiff sufficient to establish a prima facie case of negligence against defendant landowner?
The court held that the trial court properly directed a verdict for the landowner because plaintiff's evidence was not sufficient to establish a prima facie case of negligence against the landowner. The landowner acted reasonably in view of the probability of injury to plaintiff. Even if the landowner had been negligent in not providing a lock for the hose, liability did not follow because such negligence was not a substantial factor in producing the injuries.