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24 Ind. L. Rev. 1587 (1990-1991)
Landowner or Occupier Liability for Personal Injuries and Recreational Use Statutes: How Effective is the Protection

handle is hein.journals/indilr24 and id is 1599 raw text is: Landowner or Occupier Liability for Personal Injuries and
Recreational Use Statutes: How Effective is the
At the time the first recreational use statutes were adopted in the
late 1950s and early 1960s, the generally prevailing view of a landowner's
duty to those entering his or her property varied according to the injured
party's status in relation to the landowner. Three classifications describing
that status developed. The first classification is that of trespasser, who
is a person on the land without the owner's express or implied permission.
A landowner has a minimal obligation to a person classified as a
trespasser. Usually, this includes the duty to avoid intentional, willful,
or wanton conduct that injures the trespasser or damages his property.'
The second classification is that of licensee. A licensee is one with
permission to enter the premises. The owner owes a duty to avoid willful,
wanton, or reckless conduct that injures the licensee, and to warn the
licensee of defects or dangerous conditions that exist on the premises.2
The third classification is that of invitee. An invitee is an individual
who is either expressly or impliedly invited onto the owner's land to
pursue some commercial or other interest of the owner and the entering
individual. Landowners owe a duty to invitees to make their premises
reasonably safe for entry. Therefore, a landowner must take reasonable
care to inspect the premises to discover actual conditions and latent
defects that pose a threat to the invitee. Once discovered, a landowner
has a further responsibility to either repair the defects or warn the invitee
of their existence.4
In light of the law, landowners faced pressure from others who
wanted to use the owner's land for recreational activities, particularly
* Associate Professor of Agricultural Law and Economics, The Pennsylvania
State University, Pennsylvania; Member of the Pennsylvania Bar; B.A., LaSalle College,
1969; J.D., Dickinson School of Law, 1972.
1. See, e.g., Graham v. Sky Haven Coal, Inc., 386 Pa. Super. 598, 563 A.2d
891 (Pa. Super. 1989), appeal granted, 575 A.2d 566, 568 (1990); Annotation, Modern
Status of Rules Conditioning Landowner's Liability Upon Status of Injured Party as
Invitee, Licensee, or Trespasser, 22 A.L.R. 4TH 294 (1983) (superceding 32 A.L.R.3D 508
2. 62 AM. JuR. 2D Premises Liability §§ 159-61 (1990).
3. Id. §§ 136-37.
4. Id.

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