Evidence keyed to Mueller
Katko v. Briney
Plaintiff broke into a farmhouse owned but not occupied by Defendant to steal items he might find inside. Unbeknownst to the Plaintiff, Defendant had set a shotgun trap inside, and the gun fired at and injured Plaintiff when he entered the house. Defendant testified that he had placed the trap because he was tired of people breaking into the farmhouse, but did not intend to injure anyone. There were “no trespass” signs posted around the farmhouse, but no indications of any traps therein. The Trial Court instructed the jury that such a spring gun trap was prohibited unless it was used to prevent a trespasser from committing a felony of violence or punishable by death. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff and the Trial Court denied motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The Defendant appealed.
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