From our private database of 33,800+ case briefs...
Katko v. Briney
Supreme Court of Iowa
183 N.W.2d 657 (1971)
Mr. and Mrs. Briney (defendants) own a farmhouse, which is not used as their home and which remains vacant. In response to many years of break‑ins and trespassers, Mr. Briney set up a spring gun trap in one of the house’s bedrooms. The trap consisted of a shotgun pointed at the bedroom door and rigged to fire when the door was opened. Though originally set up to hit an intruder in the stomach, at Mrs. Briney’s suggestion the shotgun was lowered to hit an intruder’s legs. The spring gun could not be seen from outside the bedroom, and there was no warning or indication of its presence. Katko (plaintiff) knew the house had been unoccupied for years and considered it abandoned. Katko and a friend went to the house and collected old bottles and jars as antiques. On a subsequent visit to the house, Katko opened the bedroom door, setting off the shotgun trap. Katko was struck in the right leg and seriously injured. The jury awarded Katko compensatory and punitive damages. The trial court denied the Brineys’ motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for new trial.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Moore, C.J.)
Dissent (Larson, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 604,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 604,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 33,800 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.