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Attractive Nuisance Doctrine and Minnesota Law

Attractive Nuisance Doctrine:

The Cookes have a private swimming pool in their backyard within a 5' wooden fence and gate that is closed with a latch at the top. The family next door (Anderson) have a 2-year old son, who has played in the pool before and enjoys splashing with the Cookes' dog who spent most of his time within the swimming enclosure. The pool is completely covered except for a small corner left open for the dog. Upon noticing their son was missing, the Andersons began looking for him. A 15-year old neighbor (Phil) was called to assist in removing the pool blanket. When he didn't answer, the Cookes and Andersons began pulling back the pool blanket. The two boys were in the deep end of the pool and after being pulled out, could not be revived. Mr. Cooke remembered opening the gate earlier while he was working around the pool. The 2-year old may have fallen into the deep end of the pool while chasing the dog. The 15-year old apparently jumped in to rescue the boy and became disoriented and couldn't get out from under the pool blanket.

1. Research the problem.
2. List the citations to any relevant legal resources.
3. Using the research, answer the following questions:
a. Does the State of Minnesota follow the attractive nuisance doctrine and, if so, how does it apply to swimming pools?
b. Can the Andersons hold the Cookes responsible for their 2-year old son's death?
c. What duty did the Cookes owe the 15-year old and can the parents hold the Cookes liable?

Solution Preview

1. What is the attractive nuisance doctrine? A doctrine in tort law where a property owner may be held liable in a court of law for injuries to children who trespass on land if the injury results from a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to understand the risk posed by the object or condition.
See http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/attractive_nuisance_doctrine

Definition from Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary
"A legal doctrine that makes a property owner responsible for harm caused by leaving a piece of equipment or other condition on the property that would be both attractive and dangerous to curious children. Examples of attractive nuisances are tools and construction equipment, unguarded swimming pools, open pits, and abandoned refrigerators."
Definition provided by Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary.

2. The "attractive nuisance doctrine" was abandoned in Minnesota in Gimmestad v. Rose Bros. Co., 261 NW 194 - 1935 and the ...

Solution Summary

This document is in response to a situational problem involving the "attractive nuisance doctrine" in Minnesota. This is a 4,037 word document explaining the doctrine. The "Attractive Nuisance Doctrine" is a doctrine in tort law where a property owner may be held liable in a court of law for injuries to children who trespass onto their property. Several Minnesota cases are cited to further explain this doctrine and how it is applied in the state. The solution is about 650 words in length.

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