4106Re: [CALBIRDS] Common Black-Hawk (ethical challenges)
- Jun 6, 2005All 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.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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