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Heins v. Webster County

(1996)

Nebraska Supreme Court - 250 Neb. 750

tl;dr:

It was disputed whether Plaintiff was on Defendant's property paying a social visit (licensee) or providing material benefit through labor (invitee); Court abolishes the licensee/invitee distinction.

ICRAIssue, Conclusion, Rule, Analysis for Heins v. Webster County

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Facts & HoldingHeins v. Webster County case brief facts & holding

Facts:After heavy snowfall, Plaintiff Heins and his wife visited Defendant...

Holding:The Nebraska Supreme Court reversed and remanded.The Court relied on...

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Heins v. Webster County | Case Brief DeepDive
Majority opinion, author: Connolly, J.
Level 1
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The legal case of Heins v. Webster County Hospital involved a slip and fall accident on hospital property. The district court ruled in favor of the hospital, stating that the injured party was a licensee and the hospital's duty was limited to refraining from willful or wanton negligence or warning of hidden dangers. However, the appellate court reversed the decision and held that a duty of reasonable care to all lawful entrants is more appropriate in modern society. The traditional classifications of individuals as licensees or invitees are deemed inadequate, and a duty of reasonable care is a more appropriate standard for determining the liability of landowners.

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Dissenting opinion, author: Fahrnbruch, J.
Level 1
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The dissenting opinion in a legal case disagrees with the majority's decision to eliminate the concept of licensee, which requires landowners to treat all individuals on their premises with the same standard of care as invitees. The dissenting opinion argues that this dismantles longstanding common law and warns that landowners must now be aware of unknown, uninvited individuals who use their land and facilities. The case of McCurry v. Young Men's Christian Assn. is cited as an example of the potential liability institutions like the YMCA could face for failing to provide the same standard of care for uninvited users as paying members. The dissenting opinion suggests that socializing the use of private property could create liability where there is none, and raises concerns about the potential liability of homeowners with unwanted visitors.

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