– William DeVinney
The Virginia Supreme Court recently expanded the potential liability of a landowner for acts committed by third parties while on the landowner’s property. Shoemaker v. Funkhouser, No. 191218 (March 25, 2021). At common law, although a landowner owes a duty to those outside his property for his or her own acts, that duty does not extend to acts committed by others; a landowner usually owes no duty to protect others from third parties’ acts while on or near the landowner’s property. Rather, a landowner may presume that the third party will use reasonable care toward others until the landowner learns otherwise.