Hurn v. Greenway

[TORT LAW

In Hurn v. Greenway,[1] the supreme court held that there is no duty not to provoke a third party to commit criminal acts.[2] Greenway and Randall-Evans were shot by the latter’s husband after the two danced with one another in a teasing manner.[3] Randall-Evans died, and Hurn, the father of her two minor children, sued Greenway on behalf of the children.[4] On appeal, Hurn argued that Greenway had a duty not to unreasonably increase the risk of crime.[5] The supreme court affirmed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that no new tort duty should be imposed upon Greenway because third party criminal acts are presumptively unforeseeable.[6] The court further reasoned that Greenway’s knowledge of the husband’s jealousy and past threats of harm and of the husband’s demeanor on the night of the murder were insufficient to overcome the aforementioned presumption.[7] Additionally, the precedential burden that such a duty would be too harsh on society because victims of domestic violence could be found liable for provoking their partners who subsequently injure a third party.[8] Affirming the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that no duty exists not to provoke a third party to commit criminal acts.[9]


[1] 293 P.3d 480 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 488.

[3] Id. at 482.

[4] Id.

[5] Id. at 484.

[6] Id. at 488.

[7] Id. at 487–88.

[8] Id. at 488,

[9] Id.

Hurn v. Greenway

[TORT LAW

In Hurn v. Greenway,[1] the supreme court held that there is no duty not to provoke a third party to commit criminal acts.[2] Greenway and Randall-Evans were shot by the latter’s husband after the two danced with one another in a teasing manner.[3] Randall-Evans died, and Hurn, the father of her two minor children, sued Greenway on behalf of the children.[4] On appeal, Hurn argued that Greenway had a duty not to unreasonably increase the risk of crime.[5] The supreme court affirmed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that no new tort duty should be imposed upon Greenway because third party criminal acts are presumptively unforeseeable.[6] The court further reasoned that Greenway’s knowledge of the husband’s jealousy and past threats of harm and of the husband’s demeanor on the night of the murder were insufficient to overcome the aforementioned presumption.[7] Additionally, the precedential burden that such a duty would be too harsh on society because victims of domestic violence could be found liable for provoking their partners who subsequently injure a third party.[8] Affirming the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that no duty exists not to provoke a third party to commit criminal acts.[9]


[1] 293 P.3d 480 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 488.

[3] Id. at 482.

[4] Id.

[5] Id. at 484.

[6] Id. at 488.

[7] Id. at 487–88.

[8] Id. at 488,

[9] Id.