This week the Minnesota Court of Appeals decided a case where a son sued his father because he fell out of a deer stand on his father’s property. The son was deer hunting on the father’s land in Pine County, Minnesota. A landowner’s duty of care and duty to warn persons on recreational land is limited if the owner (1) gives “written or oral permission” for (2) use of the land “for recreational purposes” (3) without charge based on Minnesota’s recreational use statute. The District Court had found that the father’s liability was limited based on Minnesota’s recreational use statute and the father won the case at the trial court level. However, the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned the District Court and found that in order for this statutory liability protection to apply, the landowner must open the land up to public use. The Minnesota Court of Appeals found that a son or other family member is not the “public” for purposes of protection from claims by injured parties. Unless this case is overturned by the Minnesota Supreme Court, this decision makes it much more risky for a landowner to let their family members hunt and recreate on their land. The case name is Ouradnik v. Ouradnik, Minn. Ct. App. A16-1516.
All in the Family
May 12, 2017