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4106Re: [CALBIRDS] Common Black-Hawk (ethical challenges)

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  • creagrus
    Jun 6, 2005
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      All California nature lovers, including birders, should be aware of
      California Civil Code section 846, which relieves landowners of almost
      any liability when they grant permission to enter their property.
      Therefore the excuse given by the dairy farm owner encountered by Stan
      Moore was completely bogus.

      Civil Code section 846 reads, in pertinent part:
      "An owner of any estate or any other interest in real property, whether
      possessory or nonpossessory, owes no duty of care to keep the premises
      safe for entry or use by others for any recreational purpose or to give
      any warning of hazardous conditions, uses of, structures, or activities
      on such premises to persons entering for such purpose, except as
      provided in this section.

      A 'recreational purpose,' as used in this section, includes such
      activities as fishing, hunting, camping, water sports, hiking,
      spelunking, sport parachuting, riding, including animal riding,
      snowmobiling, and all other types of vehicular riding, rock collecting,
      sightseeing, picnicking, nature study, nature contacting, recreational
      gardening, gleaning, hang gliding, winter sports, and viewing or
      enjoying historical, archaeological, scenic, natural, or scientific sites.

      An owner of any estate or any other interest in real property, whether
      possessory or nonpossessory, who gives permission to another for entry
      or use for the above purpose upon the premises does not thereby (a)
      extend any assurance that the premises are safe for such purpose, or (b)
      constitute the person to whom permission has been granted the legal
      status of an invitee or licensee to whom a duty of care is owed, or (c)
      assume responsibility for or incur liability for any injury to person or
      property caused by any act of such person to whom permission has been
      granted except as provided in this section."

      I have highlighted the words "nature study." During our Breeding Bird
      Atlas project, I found iit useful to carry copies of this statute in my
      car to give to landowners when I asked permission for entry. Once they
      learned there was no liability if they allowed me to enter to look at
      birds (=study nature), that excuse melted away.

      [The only exception to "no liability" is for "willful or malicious
      failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition." In other words,
      there would still be liability if they installed a hidden trap to
      ensnare birders who entered.]

      We need to spread the word to landowners that there is NO LIABILITY RISK
      in permitting birders on their property. That is a completely fake
      excuse. In fact, they are MUCH SAFER to give permission -- because if
      they do so, there is no liability -- than to risk trespassing.
      Landowners have more dutires toward trespassers than they do to persons
      they permit to enter for any of the enumerated purposes.

      Don Roberson, J.D.



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