Appeal from Jefferson District Court; GARY L. NAFZIGER, judge.
SYLLABUS BY THE COURT 1. The duty of care to a licensee and to an invitee in Kansas is the same: reasonable care under all the circumstances. 2. Kansas adopts a modified version of the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 197 (1965), recognizing a privilege to enter or remain on the land of another if it is or reasonably appears to be necessary in order to prevent serious harm to people or property, subject to certain conditions. 3. Kansas adopts a modified version of the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 345 (1965), recognizing that the duty of care to a party entering the property of another under exercise of a privilege is the same as the duty of care to licensees and invitees.
Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in 44 Kan. App. 2d 950, 242 P.3d 1216 (2010).
Judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming the district court is reversed. Judgment of the district court is reversed and the case is remanded with directions.
The appellant, Rodney Wrinkle, was injured in the course of providing aid to a calf that he was escorting onto a neighbor's property. He sued to recover medical damages from the neighbor, and the district court granted the Normans' motion for summary judgment. Because the district court applied the incorrect standard for the duty of care in this case, we remand for the submission of new arguments predicated on the proper duty.
Based on the pleadings and the record developed through deposition testimony, the circumstances of Wrinkle's injury were as follows:
On the afternoon of March 10, 2006, Wrinkle and his friend Raymond Lee observed four or five cows wandering loose in front of property belonging to Gene and Charlene Norman, and some of the cattle were straying toward the highway that ran between Wrinkle's and the Normans' property. Wrinkle was riding his lawn tractor, and he signaled to approaching cars to slow down. Initially riding on his lawn tractor and then going on foot, Wrinkle proceeded to herd the cattle into the Normans' yard. The Normans' gate was open, and Wrinkle herded the cows through the gate toward a pen. Wrinkle testified at his deposition that he had no reason to believe that the Normans consented to his entry onto their land.
A clothesline wire was attached in some fashion to a pole in the Normans' yard. According to his deposition testimony, Wrinkle did not see how it was attached when he entered the yard; it may have been hanging looped like a lasso over the pole, and some of it may have extended to the ground.
As Wrinkle herded the cattle across the Normans' yard toward the cow pen, one calf strayed into the clothesline wire, caught the line around its neck, and began to choke. Wrinkle grabbed the back of the clothesline and walked around to the other side, flipping the line several times in order to remove the line from the calf's neck. The calf took off running toward the gate of the pen, apparently catching the clothesline somehow, so that the clothesline caught Wrinkle from behind. Wrinkle's feet went out from under him, and he landed on his back on a concrete pad.
Wrinkle immediately experienced severe pain. Lee helped him get home, and Wrinkle eventually went to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a broken back. He was hospitalized for 30 days. Afterward, he approached the Normans in person about the injury and later wrote a letter in which he asked that they submit to their insurance carrier a claim for $44,115.72, which was the outstanding balance on his hospital bill. The Normans apparently refused to arrange for payment of the medical expenses.
Wrinkle then filed an action grounded in negligence alleging that the Normans had created a dangerous condition on their property that presented an unreasonable risk of harm by leaving their gate open and by leaving a clothesline wire running across the ground.
The Normans filed a motion for summary judgment. They maintained that Wrinkle was a trespasser on their land, that they were not negligent because they were unaware that their clothesline presented a danger, and that Wrinkle failed to proffer evidence that they did not take reasonable care for the safety of others.
The district court granted the Normans' motion for summary judgment, holding that Wrinkle was a trespasser on the Normans' property and they had breached no duty toward him. The district court denied Wrinkle's motion to alter or amend judgment, and Wrinkle filed a timely notice of appeal.
In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court. Wrinkle v. Norman, 44 Kan. App. 2d 950, 242 P.3d 1216 (2010). This court granted review without limitation.
A landowner's duty to both invitees and licensees is one of reasonable care under all the circumstances. Jones v. Hansen, 254 Kan. 499, Syl. ¶ 2, 867 P.2d 303 (1994). The landowner owes trespassers, on the other hand, only the duty "to refrain from ...