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WPI120.08Licensee—Definition

6 WAPRAC WPI 120.08Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6 Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 120.08 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
July 2019 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part X. Owners and Occupiers of Land
Chapter 120. Trespasser—Licensee—Social Guest—Invitee
WPI 120.08 Licensee—Definition
A licensee is a person who goes upon the premises of another, with the permission or tolerance of the [owner] [occupier], but either without any invitation, express or implied, or for some purpose not connected with any business interest or business benefit to the [owner] [occupier].
NOTE ON USE
Use this instruction if the entrant is upon the premises with permission but without an invitation. If the entrant is upon the premises by invitation but without a business interest or benefit to the owner or occupier or on land open to the public, use WPI 120.08.01 (Social Guest—Definition). If the entrant is upon the premises for a business or public purpose, use WPI 120.05 (Business or Public Invitee—Definition).
Use either WPI 120.06 (Duty to Licensee or Social Guest—Activities or Condition of Premises), or WPI 120.06.01 (Duty of Business Proprietor to Customer—Activities or Condition of Premises), with this instruction.
COMMENT
The definition used in this instruction is derived from Dotson v. Haddock, 46 Wn.2d 52, 278 P.2d 338 (1955), and the cases cited therein.
The Washington Supreme Court has quoted the definition of “licensee” found in Restatement (Second) of Torts § 330 (1965): “a person who is privileged to enter or remain on land only by virtue of the possessor's consent.” Younce v. Ferguson, 106 Wn.2d 658, 667, 724 P.2d 991 (1986). Although the Younce definition uses the word “consent” instead of the instruction's term “permission or tolerance,” subsequent case law implies that no significant change in meaning was intended. For example, the Supreme Court in Hutchins v. 1001 Fourth Ave. Associates, 116 Wn.2d 217, 222, 802 P.2d 1360 (1991), used the phrase “consent or permission,” some Court of Appeals cases have used the traditional definition, and some Court of Appeals cases have used the Younce definition. See, e.g., Home v. North Kitsap School Dist., 92 Wn.App. 709, 718, 965 P.2d 1112 (1998) (traditional definition); Singleton v. Jackson, 85 Wn.App. 835, 839, 935 P.2d 644 (1997) (Younce definition).
In Singleton v. Jackson, 85 Wn.App. 835, 839, 935 P.2d 644 (1997), a solicitor for a religious organization who slipped and fell on the front deck of a residence was a licensee for premises liability purposes.
In Thompson v. Katzer, 86 Wn.App. 280, 936 P.2d 421 (1997), the court rejected the argument that a stepson delivering a car to a home where his stepfather was staying became an invitee, rather than a licensee, because his activity bestowed an economic benefit on the stepfather. The court extensively analyzed the definition of a licensee and concluded that conferring an economic benefit will not transform a licensee to an invitee where the benefit is merely incidental to an entry which is primarily familial or social.
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) (question whether plaintiff, injured at the home in which a Tupperware sales party was being held, is a social guest/licensee or business invitee one of fact for the jury when there were facts in dispute as to the visit's primary purpose).
[Current as of September 2018.]
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