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Ouradnik v. Ouradnik

Supreme Court of Minnesota

June 6, 2018

Corey John Ouradnik, Respondent,
v.
Robert John Ouradnik, Appellant.

          Office of Appellate Courts Court of Appeals

          Matthew J. Barber, James S. Ballentine, Richard L. Tousignant, Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for respondent.

          Troy A. Poetz, Matthew W. Moehrle, Steven A. Bader, Rajkowski Hansmeier, Ltd., Saint Cloud, Minnesota, for appellant.

          Jessica E. Schwie, Tal A. Bakke, Jardine, Logan & O'Brien, PLLP, Lake Elmo, Minnesota, for amicus curiae Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association.

         SYLLABUS

         1. Minnesota's Recreational-Use Statute, Minn. Stat. §§ 604A.20-.27 (2016), does not apply to private land that is not used by the public for beneficial recreational purposes.

         2. A landowner who gave permission to only his immediate family to use his private land for recreational purposes, and excluded others, does not qualify for the duty-of-care and liability limitations in the Recreational-Use Statute.

         Affirmed.

          OPINION

          MCKEIG, JUSTICE.

         Respondent Corey Ouradnik ("Son") sued his father, appellant Robert Ouradnik ("Father"), after he fell from a deer stand on Father's property and was injured. The Pine County District Court granted partial summary judgment in favor of Father, holding that he was entitled to recreational-use immunity under Minn. Stat. §§ 604A.20-.27 (2016) ("the Recreational-Use Statute"), allowing Son to proceed to trial to seek recovery under only the trespasser exception to the statute. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the Recreational-Use Statute did not apply because Father did not offer his land for use by the public. We affirm.

         FACTS

         Father owns 40 acres of land where he allows his immediate family to hunt. Father does not allow anyone outside of his immediate family to hunt on his land, and has posted at least one "No Trespassing" sign to deter non-family members. Father excluded extended family, Son's friends, and members of the general public from hunting on his land.

         Father built approximately five tree stands on his land for deer hunting. When he first built the tree stands, Father affixed the boards to the trees with nails. In 2012, Father began to replace the nails with 6-inch screws, but did not have enough screws to re-fasten every board. Some boards remained affixed by nails.

         On November 10, 2012, Son was climbing into one of the deer stands on Father's property when he grabbed a board that was still secured by nails. The board came loose and Son fell 16 ...


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