WPI120.05Business or Public Invitee—Definition
6 WAPRAC WPI 120.05Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
6 Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 120.05 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
July 2019 Update
Part X. Owners and Occupiers of Land
Chapter 120. Trespasser—Licensee—Social Guest—Invitee
WPI 120.05 Business or Public Invitee—Definition
A [business] [or] [public] invitee is a person who is either expressly or impliedly invited onto the premises of another [for some purpose connected with a business interest or business benefit to the [owner] [occupier]] [or] [for some purpose for which the premises are held open to the public].
[If an invitee unreasonably strays beyond the area of invitation, his or her status changes from that of an invitee to that of a [licensee] [or] [trespasser], with a corresponding change in the duty owed to him or her by the [owner] [occupier] of the premises.]
NOTE ON USE
Use bracketed material as applicable.
Use with the appropriate duty instruction (WPI 120.06, 120.06.01, 120.06.02, 120.06.03, or 120.07). Use with the appropriate duty instruction (WPI 120.06 (General Duty to Business or Public Invitee—Activities or Condition of Premises), WPI 120.06.01 (Duty of Business Proprietor to Customer—Activities or Condition of Premises), WPI 120.06.02 (Duty to Invitee or Customer—Notice of Temporary Unsafe Condition Not Caused by Owner or Occupier), WPI 120.06.03 (Duty to Business Invitee—Protection From Criminal Acts), or WPI 120.07 (Liability to Business or Public Invitee—Condition of Premises—Condition Not Created by the Owner or Occupier)).
Use the second paragraph of this instruction if there is evidence that the plaintiff may have changed status (such as from invitee to licensee or trespasser by straying out of the area of invitation).If there are factual questions as to the status of the visitor as an invitee, licensee, social guest, or trespasser, and the second paragraph of this instruction is used,the jury will need to be instructed on each relevant status and duty.See Comment below.
This instruction has been revised for this edition. This definition is based on McKinnon v. Washington Federal Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 68 Wn.2d 644, 414 P.2d 773 (1966), which adopts the definition of invitee set forth in Restatement (Second) of Torts § 332 (1965). Accord Van Dinter v. City of Kennewick, 121 Wn.2d 38, 846 P.2d 522 (1993).
The courts have often given a liberal interpretation to the definition of a business invitee. Haugen v. Central Lutheran Church, 58 Wn.2d 166, 361 P.2d 637 (1961) (church member working on scaffold of church under construction); Ward v. Thompson, 57 Wn.2d 655, 359 P.2d143 (1961) (volunteer services performed on a painting or building scaffold); Kidwell v. School Dist. No. 300, Whitman County, 53 Wn.2d 672, 335 P.2d 805 (1959); (student using school premises for extracurricular meeting after school hours); Kalinowski v. Young Women's Christian Ass'n, 17 Wn.2d 380, 135 P.2d 852 (1943) (invitation to supervise at a dance sponsored by YWCA); Heckman v. Sisters of Charity, 5 Wn.2d 699, 106 P.2d 593 (1940) (friends and relatives invited to attend a ceremony for student nurses at a hospital); Jarr v. Seeco Const. Co., 35 Wn.App. 324, 666 P.2d392 (1983) (real estate broker showing unfinished home).
Similarly, the courts have liberally interpreted the term “invitee.” In Ford v. Red Lion Inns,67 Wn.App. 766, 840 P.2d 198 (1992), the court held that a plaintiff, who was injured while acting in the capacity of an employee of a company that leased rooms and parking stalls from the defendant, was an invitee for purposes of determining the duty owed by the defendant. In Home v. North Kitsap School Dist., 92 Wn.App. 709, 965 P.2d 1112 (1998), the court held that an assistant football coach who was injured on the sidelines during a school-sponsored football game was an invitee of the school district because the coach's presence was related to the school district's business of running its schools.
An incidental payment of money does not necessarily convert a social guest into a business invitee. See Younce v. Ferguson, 106 Wn.2d 658, 724 P.2d 991 (1986) (a minor, who was struck by a car while attending a graduation “kegger” at a dairy farm, was a social guest rather than an invitee, notwithstanding that the minor paid a $4.00 admission price to attend the event).
For a general discussion of cases discussing the question of what constitutes an invitee, see DeWolf and Allen, 16A Washington Practice, Tort Law and Practice § 18.6 (4th ed.) (summarizing cases requiring mutuality of benefit for a visitor to be considered a business invitee). Although the same duty is owed to both a public and a business invitee, the scope of the invitation for a public invitee may be more limited. See DeWolf and Allen, 16A Washington Practice, Tort Law and Practice §§ 18.6–18.7 (4th ed.).
Generally, the question of the status of a visitor is a question of law to be decided by the court. When facts are in dispute, however, the issue must be decided by the jury and appropriate instructions defining the various possible legal statuses of the visitor (and the resultant standard of care) must be given. Beebe v. Moses, 113 Wn.App. 464, 54 P.3d 188 (2002) (whether plaintiff, injured at the home in which a Tupperware sales party was being held, was a social guest/licensee or business invitee was a question of fact for the jury when there are facts in dispute as to the visit's primary purpose).
A visitor's status as a business invitee may be lost if the invitee exceeds the scope of the invitation or ventures beyond the “area of invitation.” See Tincani v. Inland Empire Zoological Soc., 124 Wn.2d 121, 141, 875 P.2d 621 (1994) (emphasizing the importance of instructing the jury about the change in the landowner's duty that occurs when a plaintiff strays from the area of invitation); Adkins v. Aluminum Co. of America, 110 Wn.2d 128, 750 P.2d 1257 (1988) clarified on denial of reconsideration 756 P.2d 142 (1988); Egede-Nissen v. Crystal Mountain, Inc., 93 Wn.2d 127, 132–33, 606 P.2d 1214 (1980); Codd v. Stevens Pass, Inc., 45 Wn.App. 393, 725 P.2d 1008 (1986); Mesa v. Spokane World Exposition, 18 Wn.App. 609, 570 P.2d 157 (1977) (disapproved of on other grounds in Egede-Nissen v. Crystal Mountain, Inc., 93 Wn.2d 127).
[Current as of September 2018.]
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