Sunday, February 3, 2013

North Hardin Developers, Inc. v. Corkran case brief

North Hardin Developers, Inc. v. Corkran case summary
839 S.W.2d 258 (Ky. 1992)
Tort Law

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Appellant landowner sought review of a decision of the Court of Appeals (Kentucky), which reversed a summary judgment granted for appellant in a case brought by appellee child, who was injured by a horse on appellant's farm. The farm was located adjacent to two subdivisions.

FACTS: In a case brought by appellee, a child who was injured by a horse, the trial court entered summary judgment for appellant landowner. The court of appeals reversed, and appellant sought further review.
The statutes provided, as a general rule, that landowners were not liable for damages to trespassers. However, persons coming within the scope of the "attractive nuisance" doctrine were not trespassers under the statutes.

The issue was whether horses or other domesticated livestock, without vicious propensities, kept on a farm that was in close proximity to two subdivisions were properly considered an attractive nuisance denying appellant the protection of Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 381.231 and 381.232.

The court reversed the court of appeals' decision and reinstated the summary judgment for appellant. The horses were not kept in a residential yard, but on a 27-acre farm. Appellant had attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to prevent trespassing by the children, and the cost of rendering the farm inaccessible to children would have been prohibitive

-Prior to application of the universal duty of care to a particular set of facts, it must appear that the harm was foreseeable and the facts must be viewed as they reasonably appeared to the party charged with negligence, not as they appear based on hindsight.
-As to what constitutes an unreasonable risk of harm, nearly all human acts, of course, carry some recognizable but remote possibility of harm to another.
-Those against which the actor is required to take precautions are those which society, in general, considers sufficiently great to demand them.
-No man can be expected to guard against harm from events which are not reasonably to be anticipated at all, or are so unlikely to occur that the risk, although recognizable, would commonly be disregarded.

CONCLUSION: The decision reversing summary judgment for appellant landowner was reversed and the case was remanded for reinstatement of the judgment. Appellant was not liable for damages when appellee was injured by a horse on its farm. Domesticated livestock, absent a history of dangerous propensities, did not constitute a foreseeable risk of harm, and "attractive nuisance" doctrine did not apply.

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