Washington Law Review


Joseph Z. Lell


Under an exception to the attractive nuisance doctrine, landowners typically owe no duty to warn and protect trespassing children from the dangers inherent in ponds, streams, and other natural bodies of water located on the owners' property. In Degel v. Majestic Mobile Manor, Inc., however, the Washington Supreme Court declined to extend this premises liability exception to situations where the injured visitor is an invitee of the landowner. This Note examines the natural bodies of water exception and argues that Degel's refusal to apply it in the invitee context ultimately conflicts with the court's earlier policy statement favoring access to the state's waterways. The Note concludes by proposing an analytical framework that would ensure the continued recreational, visual, and environmental benefits derived from unfenced bodies of water located on business property, while simultaneously maintaining a duty of affirmative care upon landowners to protect invitees from water hazards only under carefully limited circumstances.

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