Legal Memorandum: Owner's Duty of Care to Children

Issue: In Illinois, what standard of care does a creator of dangerous hazardous conditions have to children?

Area of Law: Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Standard of care; Dangerous hazardous conditions; Children
Jurisdiction: Illinois
Cited Cases: 525 N.E.2d 199; 520 N.E.2d 62; 383 N.E.2d 177; 404 N.E.2d 918; 238 N.E.2d 177; 428 N.E.2d 706; 226 N.E.2d 89
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 04/01/2001

Illinois long ago abandoned the so-called attractive nuisance analysis in favor of what is commonly referred to as the Kahn doctrine.  See Kahn v. James Burton Co., 5 Ill. 2d 614, 126 N.E.2d 836 (1955).  In Kahn an eleven-year-old boy was injured when a lumber pile on which he was playing collapsed.  The defendant lumber company, which left the lumber piled on the land of another party, contended it owed no duty to anyone other than the owners and the contractor.  The court disagreed and in so doing redefined the duty owed by an owner or occupier of land relative to injuries suffered thereon by children.  The decision in Kahn has been described as follows:

The import of the decision was that it rejected the implication in the “attractive nuisance” doctrine that the dangerous condition had to lure children into trespassing on the premises; it obviated the need for common law categories of trespasser, licensee and invitee as labels for children injured on the premises of another; it established the foreseeability of harm to children as the cornerstone of liability; and it brought Illinois law into harmony with section 339 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts.)  Under Kahn, a duty which would not be imposed in ordinary negligence will be imposed upon the owner or occupier of land only if such person knows or […]

margin-left:1.0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:justify;tab-stops:.5in 1.0in 1.5in 2.0in 2.5in 3.0in 3.5in 4.0in 4.5in 5.0in 5.5in 6.0in 6.5in 7.0in 7.5in 8.0in 8.5in 9.0in 9.5in 10.0in 10.5in 11.0in 11.5in’>

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)