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82 Notre Dame L. Rev. 881 (2006-2007)
The Law of Premises Liability in America: Its Past, Present, and Some Considerations for Its Future

handle is hein.journals/tndl82 and id is 889 raw text is: THE LAW OF PREMISES LIABILITY IN AMERICA:
ITS PAST, PRESENT, AND SOME
CONSIDERATIONS FOR ITS FUTURE
Robert S. Driscoll*
INTRODUCTION
In 1968, the California Supreme Court took what was a relatively
stable area of the law, that of premises liability, and thrust it into the
national legal debate over the nature of the tort system.' Whereas the
state courts had up until Rowland v. Christian2 followed a system of
liability deeply rooted in the common law, California's decision sig-
naled a new direction for the ownership of land. The traditional sys-
tem had defined landowner duties based on the status of the entrant;
assigning higher duties to those there by consent and lower duties to
those who trespassed.3 The Rowland standard, however, essentially re-
moved this special protection for landowners from the normal rules of
negligence and imposed a standard of reasonable care, only consider-
ing the status of the entrant as one of many factors in making the
determination.4 What was once a fairly uniform system across the
states became fractured as some courts followed Rowland,5 others re-
jected it,6 and still others sought a middle ground.7 Further, in some
* Candidate for Juris Doctor, Notre Dame Law School, 2007; M.P., University of
Dallas, 2004; B.A., Hillsdale College, 2003. 1 would like to thank Professor Eric Claeys
for his guidance and advice throughout the whole note-writing process. I am also
grateful to the staff of the Notre Dame Law Review, who did an excellent job in
reviewing and editing the piece. Finally, I'd like to thank my wife, Kathy for all her
love, support, and patience during my time in law school.
1 Rowland v. Christian, 443 P.2d 561 (Cal. 1968).
2 Id.
3 See infra Part I.A.
4 See infra Part I.B.
5 See infra note 46.
6 See infra note 63.
7 See infra note 64.

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