Thursday, December 3, 2015

Barmore v. Elmore case brief summary

Barmore v. Elmore case brief
1980
Facts: Plaintiff went to visit defendant because both of them were officers of a Masonic lodge and plaintiff came to talk business. Defendants son walked into the room and advanced toward plaintiff however the father restrained son. However, son got free and followed plaintiff where he stabbed him in the chest. Father summoned help. Plaintiff claim that defendants failed to protect him from a dangerous condition, the mentally ill son. The question of invitee v. licensee status for plaintiff. 
Decision: Defendant wins 
Reasoning: For person classified as an invitee, they must go on land in furtherance of owners business. The invited person does not need to gain an advantage in this entry. A social guest is a licensee and there for licensees own purposes. Duty towards an invitee is greater than towards a licensee. A social guest (licensee) takes the host’s home as he finds them but must be warned of any dangers that are unknown to his guest. However, a host has a higher duty to exercise reasonable care in keeping premises safe for the invitee. The duty extends to protecting him from criminal acts.
Argues that transaction of business for a fraternal organization is enough to make him an invitee. Since the benefit is towards the organization and not towards the defendant, the plaintiff is a licensee. Defendant only had to warn plaintiff of unknown dangers, the question of whether the defendant had a duty to plaintiff to do that. Here there is evidence to suggest that the defendant could not have known that their son would commit a criminal act even though they know their son is mentally ill.

Holding: A defendant does not have a duty towards a licensee due to an act that was criminally committed against a licensee when the defendant could not have foreseen that criminal act. 

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