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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 102368
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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A trespasser, vagrant, wants to sue a building owner after

Resolved Question:

A trespasser, vagrant, wants to sue a building owner after entering his building at night to
find a place to sleep. The light bulb was burned out in the basement the trespasser struck a match in order to see. There was a leaking gas line in the basement and the match ignited the fumes causing an explosion which injured the trespasser. The explosion also caused owner's pet monkey to escape from its cage, the monkey attacked the trepasser and bit him. Is the land owner in CT liable for any injuries to this trespasser, if so on what grounds? Does the trespasser have any
legal recourse against the land owner? Again, if so, on what grounds?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Ely replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. Please remember that there might be a delay between your follow up questions and my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break.

This has to do with duty owed to a trespasser. There are several levels of duties owed by a landlord to people who step on their land:

-a certain duty to an invitee,
-a certain duty to a licensee,
-a certain duty to a trespasser (virtually, none), and
-a certain duty to a child trespasser.

Here, we have an adult trespasser. Like all US jurisdictions, Connecticut bestows virtually no duty owed to a trespasser: A possessor of land has no duty to anticipate the presence of trespassers. Marchand v. New York, New Haven & Hartford R. Co., 146 Conn. 599, 604-605, 153 A.2d 438 (1959); see DeSantis v. New England Furniture Co., 132 Conn. 134, 136, 42 A.2d 792 (1945); Deacy v. McDonnell, 131 Conn. 101, 103-104, 38 A.2d 181 (1944). This is a well-established doctrine. The trespasser has no legal recourse.

One possible caveat is that the plaintiff must have presented evidence of some facts within the defendants' knowledge from which they should have known of the presence of trespassers routinely intruding (and thus, a duty possibly existing). Maffucci v. Royal Park Ltd. Partnership, 243 Conn. 552 - Conn: Supreme Court 1998. But in your scenario, this does not seem as an option.

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