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Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2013

Katko v. Briney

Should an individual be allowed to use force to protect his or her real property? Should it matter if the property is uninhabited? Defendants inherited an extra house in which they did not live. After a series of trespasses onto the uninhabited property, defendants posted 'no trespass' signs, boarded up the doors and windows, and set a spring-gun trap that would shoot trespassers who opened the bedroom door. No warning of the trap's presence was posted. Plaintiff--who had previously trespassed on the property and taken old bottles and fruit jars as antiques--returned to the property in hopes of further scavenging the premises. When the plaintiff opened the bedroom door, the shotgun blew off much of his leg.