Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Salevan (Plaintiff), was injured when a foul ball hit out of the Defendant, Wilmington Park, Inc.’s (Defendant) ballpark, struck Plaintiff in the back. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant for personal injuries.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Landowners who use their land in an artificial way must take reasonable precautions to protect the public traveling adjacent to the land.
Issue. Does defendant, as landowner, have the duty to exercise reasonable care in the use of his land so as to prevent injury to travelers using the adjacent sidewalk?
Held. Yes. Judgment entered for Plaintiff.
* The Plaintiff does not claim that Defendant is an insurer of persons using the sidewalk adjacent to his ballpark. Rather, Plaintiff contends that Defendant’s failure to take reasonable precautions to safeguard the public was negligence.
* Because of the inherent nature of baseball, a landowner must take reasonable precautions to protect the traveling public, with reasonableness depending on the facts and circumstances of each particular case. The Defendant in this case did take some precautions, such as erecting a ten-foot fence to keep balls within the park. Nonetheless, two or three balls per game on average left the park and entered the area where Plaintiff was walking when he was injured.
* It seems clear from the evidence that the Defendant’s precautions were insufficient and that the Defendant knew or should have known that the precautions were insufficient.
Discussion. When a landowner alters the condition of his land, it becomes artificial and the owner must exercise reasonable care for the protection of those outside the premises.