March 24, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Attractive Nuisance Doctrine Applies Only to Children Who Trespass and Not to Licensees

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in SW v. Towers Boat Club, Inc. on April 26, 2012.

Attractive Nuisance Doctrine—Child Licensee—Not Trespassing Child Enticed Onto Property.

Plaintiffs SW, David Wacker, and Rhonda Wacker appealed the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of defendant Towers Boat Club, Inc. (landowner). The judgment was affirmed.

On August 2, 2008, SW, who was 11 years old, attended a social gathering at Poudre Reservoir Number 6. While he was playing on an inflatable structure rented by landowner for the gathering, wind lifted the structure into the air and SW fell to the ground, sustaining severe injuries. Plaintiffs asserted claims against the landowner, including a claim for attractive nuisance.

Plaintiffs contended that the trial court erred in granting landowner’s motion for summary judgment and dismissing their attractive nuisance claim against landowner. As an issue of first impression, the Court of Appeals held that under the premises liability statute, a child licensee may not assert a claim based on the attractive nuisance doctrine. The doctrine unequivocally applies only to children enticed by an attractive nuisance to trespass on another’s property. Because SW was not a trespassing child who was enticed onto the property by an attractive nuisance, he could not assert a claim for attractive nuisance.

Summary and full case available here.

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