Throughout its relatively short history, American law has placed a special value on the rights of real property owners. Yet, as American ideas about the value of property have begun to change, so too have the laws regarding tort liability of owners and occupiers. Nebraska recognized this tort reform in Heins v. Webster County. This Note examines how the Heins decision beneficially changed Nebraska law. Abolishing the common law status distinctions and applying a reasonable standard of care under the circumstances frees the court from the harshness of the common law and the problems of rigid application. A reasonable standard of care also more fully exemplifies modern social values. This Note will further show that the Heins decision was merely a step in the right direction for the court. To fully ameliorate the harmful effects of the common law categories, the court also should eliminate the status category of trespasser and should instead apply a single duty of reasonable care under the circumstances in all premises liability situations.
Kristin K. Woodward,
Owners and Occupiers of Land Now Owe Those Lawfully on Their Premises a Duty of Reasonable Care under Heins v. Webster County, 250 Neb. 750, 552 N.W.2d 51 (1996),
76 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol76/iss1/6