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Legal Memorandum: Landowner's Duty to Invitees

Issue: Under Virgin Islands law, is a landowner responsible for harm caused to invitees as a result of dangerous conditions?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Landowner's responsibility; Dangerous or harmful conditions
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 198 F. Supp. 2d 632; 16 F.3d 532; 126 F.3d 221; 53 F.3d 1381
Cited Statutes: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 343, 344; Restatement (Second) of Torts § 360; 1 V.I.C. § 4
Date: 09/01/2008

A possessor of land who is aware of dangerous or potentially harmful conditions, breaches a duty owed to an invitee, under principles expressed in the Torts Restatement.*FN1  Section 343, Dangerous Conditions Known To Or Discoverable By Possessor, provides: 

A possessor of land is subject to liability for physical harm caused to his invitees by a condition on the land if, but only if, he (a) knows or by the exercise of reasonable care would discover the condition, and should realize that it involves an unreasonable risk of harm to such invitees, and (b) should expect that they will not discover or realize the danger, or will fail to protect themselves against it, and (c) fails to exercise reasonable care to protect them against the danger.

Restatement (Second) of Torts § 343.  Similarly, § 344, Business Premises Open To Public: Acts Of Third Persons Or Animals, provides:

A possessor of land who holds it open to the public for entry for his business purposes is subject to liability to members of the public while they are upon the land for such a purpose, for physical harm caused by the accidental, negligent, or intentional harmful acts of third persons or animals, and by the failure of the possessor to exercise reasonable care to

(a) discover that such acts are being done or are likely to be done, or

(b) give a warning adequate to enable the visitors to avoid the harm, or […]

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