Tort Law - Liability as Invitee or Licensee

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Garden Club Guests and Liability
Nicola Grover
Professor, Theresa Dike
November 27, 2011
LEG 300

The difference between an invitee and a licensee is the level of duty of care owed to each by the landowner. A person who enters the premises of a landowner by invitation, as part of the general public for a lawful purpose, would be considered an invitee. The landowner must provide an invitee reasonable care to keep the invitee safe from harm. This means the landowner must be aware of impending dangers and exercise care in reducing or eliminating these dangers. Individuals who are on the premises for business purposes, such as a contractor or customer, as well as visitors who are on the premises by public invitation to an event or gathering, would be considered invitees.

A person who enters the landowner’s premises as a social guest is considered a licensee, as is to be treated the same as the landowner himself, whereas no special consideration or preparation would be made for the arrival of such. Therefore, a landowner’s obligation to a licensee is to not willfully or wantonly injure the licensee, or to be grossly negligent by not warning the licensee of dangers the landowner is aware of. At a minimum the landowner must make aware to the licensee, any hazardous conditions so the licensee can exercise caution.

In the case of a person being injured on a landowner’s premises during a garden tour, whether or not the person has paid an admission fee directly to the landowner himself should be considered an invitee. The landowner made his/her premises open to the public for use of the area for a club function. Therefore, visitors onto the landowner’s property were not there as social guests of the landowner. These particular visitors are not expected to enter the premises and occupy it as the landowner himself uses it. Special preparation and consideration is expected in order to prepare for the public guests, therefore extra precautions would be made for the...
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