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B. Conduct of others:  The landowner’s duty of reasonable care may require her to control the conduct of others, whose behavior on her property may cause injury to those off it.

1. Employees:  This is of course true with respect to the owner’s employees under the doctrine of respondeat superior (discussed infra p. 314).

2. Contractors:  Similarly, the landowner may be responsible for the negligence of an independent contractor, if the contractor’s work is inherently dangerous to those off the premises (see infra, p. 317).

3. General rule:  But even more generally, the owner is responsible for preventing the activities of anyone on her property if she knows or should know there is danger to outsiders. Thus the owner of a hotel was liable to a passer-by who while on the adjoining sidewalk was hit by an object thrown by a drunken Junior Chamber of Commerce conventioneer staying at the hotel; Connolly v. Nicollet Hotel, 95 N.W.2d 657 (Minn. 1958). Similarly, the owner of a baseball park was liable for injury to a pedestrian arising from one of a continual series of foul balls hit by the players; the court asserted that the public has “a right to the free and unmolested use of the public highways,” and that the owner was required to take reasonable precautions (e.g., a higher fence) to guard against such injuries. Salevan v. Wilmington Park, Inc., 72 A.2d 239 (Del. 1950). See Rest. 2d §318.


A. Detailed rules:  It is where injuries occur on the owner’s premises that the detailed and restrictive rules on liability referred to at the beginning of this chapter take effect.

1. Possessor v. owner:  These common law rules were designed to encourage the full exploitation of land. Therefore, the beneficiary of the rule is the possessor of the land, not the abstract legal owner. The most important consequence of this fact is that when a tenant takes possession of property, even if only for a very short period, he is the one who gets the benefit of these specialized rules. The lessor, once he gives up possession, loses the benefit of these rules, although there are other rules (discussed infra, p. 249) which also curtail the degree of care which he is required to show.

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