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Ohio Adopts Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
Description The Ohio supreme court held that the state adopts the attractive nuisance doctrine and that it will be applied in a case in which a child fell into a neighbor's unfenced pool and drowned. The child's mother also drowned attempting to rescue her son. The doctrine is an exception to the rule that landowners have no special duty of care to trespassers.
Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words Negligence; Trespass; Attractive Nuisance; Swimming Pools
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts A mother died trying to rescue her drowning son, who had fallen into a neighbor's swimming pool. The survivors of the mother and son sued the neighbor for negligence for having an unfenced pool. The trial court and appeals court held for the property owner. Plaintiffs appealed.
Decision Reversed. A landowner owes no duty except to refrain from willful, wanton or reckless conduct which is likely to injure a trespasser. However, the duties of care owed to children are different from duties owed to adults. Ohio adopts the attractive nuisance doctrine of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, which provides that the possessor of land may in some circumstances be subject to liability for physical harm to children trespassing on the property that is caused by an artificial condition upon the land. The key element under the doctrine is whether there is a foreseeable, unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to children. The trial court will determine if that applies to the swimming pool in this instance. While the attractive nuisance doctrine does not apply to adults, it may be invoked by an adult injured when trying to rescue a child from a danger created by defendant's negligence.
Citation Bennett v. Stanley, 748 N.E.2d 41 (Sup. Ct., Ohio, 2001)

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