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Abolition of Category Laws

Abolition Of Categories

Following a statute in England, the United States joined in the abolition of laws that classify those that lawfully enter a propertyowners Once certain laws were passed as the primary steps toward such a change, individual states began to abolish the categorization on their own. Following by example, more and more jurisdictions gathered and universally agreed to do the same. Specifically, the case of Rowland vs. Christian in California extinguished the separation of invitees and licensees in regards to entitlements. There was also a case in Massachusetts in 1973 recorded as Mounsey vs Ellard. This case dealt with a person who happened to be a police officer was delivering a summons to another person at their home. During his course of work, the officer fell on ice that had accumulated on the premises of the person and injured. The officer under the set circumstances at the time, would be known as a licensee on that property and the owner of the home would not be held liable for the injury of that person. This case helped change that by imposing negligence on the home owner and doing away with the classification of a licensee and invitee. In Nebraska the Heins vs. Webster County case brought upon the similar issue of liability with premises. This case dealt with a father visiting a daughter who was an employee at a county hospital, making him a licensee on the property. On his way out of the hospital, he slipped near the entrance and caused a great deal of harm to his back upon landing. The man did not receive recovery under the current Nebraska law labeling him a licensee. The state's Supreme court later argued the categorization of licensees and invitees was wrong, and abolished its existence. The court ruled that there must be a certain standard care for people lawfully entering a premise, under reasonable terms. These cases and many others such as Basso vs. Miller in New York State, helped raise awareness for such changes to be made on a national level. Soon after, jurisdictions nationwide began to make these changes prior to finding themselves in the position of being forced to do so, due to a similar case. It was clear that there needed to be a change made to avoid lawsuits, and to grant people that were lawfully entering a property the equal rights and protection regardless of their reason for entry. This of course does not deal with trespassers in any way shape or form, strictly the lawful occupants on premises. Although a great number of jurisdictions followed the example and abolished the categorization of licensees and invitees, certain ones have held their stance on maintaining a distinguished division between licensees and invitees.

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