Astleford v. Milner Enterprises, Inc.

Decision Date30 March 1970
Docket NumberN-Sand M,No. 45653,45653
PartiesMrs. Juanita ASTLEFORD v. MILNER ENTERPRISES, INC., a Corp., d/b/a Sun-otel and Odell McGee.
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

Hurlbert & O'Barr, Biloxi, for appellant.

Bryant & Stennis, Gulfport, for appellee.

INZER, Justice:

Appellant, Mrs. Juanita Astleford, brought suit in the Circuit Court of Harrison County against appellees, Milner Enterprises, Inc., doing business as Sun-N-Sand Motel and its employee, Odell McGee, seeking to recover damages for personal injuries alleged to have resulted from the negligence of appellees. The trial court allowed the case to go to the jury and it returned a verdict in favor of appellant assessing her damages of $50,000. Appellees filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict and a motion for a new trial. The court sustained the motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict of the jury and entered judgment dismissing the suit. From this judgment Mrs. Astleford appealed and appellees cross appealed to protect their rights under their motion for a new trial. We affirm on direct and cross appeal.

Appellant alleged she was injured at the Sun-N-Sand Motel while visiting with an employee of the motel. The evidence most favorable to appellant established that she and Mrs. Johnson, an employee of the motel, were standing in a driveway which runs in an east-west direction on the motel premises. Mrs. Astleford was standing adjacent to the curb facing south and Mrs. Johnson was standing in front of her. They were engaged in a conversation. The driveway was marked with an arrow which indicated that it was for one-way traffic to the east. Appellee, Odell McGee was employed by the motel and was driving a panel truck. He pulled into the driveway and parked about one truck length west of where the ladies were standing. He went into the laundry room to pick up some laundry. Mrs. Astleford noticed the truck parked in the driveway but did not notice McGee when he got into the truck and backed it in an easterly direction on the driveway. McGee testified that he did not notice the ladies when he got into the truck. He said he looked in the mirror on each side of the truck before backing and did not see anyone. He backed his truck at a speed he estimated to be eight to ten miles per hour. The truck struck Mrs. Johnson and she was knocked to the pavement. Mrs. Astleford said the truck was right up on her before she saw it and it struck her on the right shoulder knocking her into the brush. She said the next thing she knew she was standing up beside the truck.

The trial court overruled a motion by appellees for a peremptory instruction at the close of appellant's case. After all the evidence was presented the court submitted the issue of whether appellees were guilty of wilful or wanton negligence to the jury. In sustaining the motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict of the jury, the trial court held that the evidence most favorable to the appellant did not warrant the jury in finding that the appellees were guilty of wilful or wanton negligence and, in effect, held that it should have sustained the peremptory instruction.

Appellant assigns several errors for reversal of this case, but in her brief she combines the assignment of errors into two propositions. We will take them up in the same order as briefed.

Proposition I in the language of the appellant is as follows: 'The trial court erred in holding that the appellant was a mere licensee and that the only duty owed to appellant by appellees was to refrain from wilfully or wantonly injuring her.' Appellant concedes that this Court has adopted the historical distinction between trespassers, licensees, and invitees and that if these concepts are followed in this case it is undoubtedly true that appellant was, at best, a mere licensee. Appellant strongly insists that we should abandon, at least for the instant case and cases like it, these traditional concepts. It is pointed out that at least two states, California and Hawaii, have already done so. We have read and considered the authorities cited by appellant and, although they are persuasive, we are not convinced that we should at this time abandon our well-established distinction between persons on property of another and the duty the possessor of the premises owes to such persons. The standard adopted by the Hawaiian court in Pickard v. City and County of Honolulu, 452 P.2d 445 (1969) appears to be very simple. The standard adopted by that court is as follows:

(T)hat an occupier of land has a duty to use reasonable care for the safety of all persons reasonably anticipated to be upon the premises regardless of the legal status of he individual.

(452 P.2d at 446).

After a careful consideration and study of this rule we can envision many problems in its application and we do not think conditions have changed to such an extent that we should adopt this rule at this time.

It is also pointed out that other courts have made a differentiation between active and passive...

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26 cases
  • Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, Inc. v. Campbell
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 19 December 1984
    ...of "correcting" any jury verdict later on the motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. See, e.g., Astleford v. Milner Enterprises, Inc., 233 So.2d 524, 526 (Miss.1970); Claiborne v. Greer, 354 So.2d 1109, 1111 (Miss.1978). This, we say, saves needless retrial if on appeal we disagre......
  • Little by Little v. Bell
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 6 August 1998
    ...or at least draw a distinction between active and passive negligence insofar as a licensee is concerned. Astleford v. Milner Enter., Inc., 233 So.2d 524, 526 (Miss.1970). Contrastingly, this Court has also stated that Mississippi should continue to recognize the common-law distinctions betw......
  • Sherman v. Suburban Trust Co., 43
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • 3 April 1978
    ...classifications. See, e. g., Frazee v. St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Co., 219 Kan. 661, 549 P.2d 561 (1976); Astleford v. Milner Enterprises, Inc., 233 So.2d 524 (Miss.1970); Caroff v. Liberty Lumber Co., 146 N.J.Super. 353, 369 A.2d 983 (1977); Behrns v. Burke, S.D., 229 N.W.2d 86 (1975)......
  • Hughes v. Star Homes, Inc.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 16 January 1980
    ...632, 80 So.2d 785 (1955). A landowner owes a licensee the duty to refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring him. Astleford v. Milner Enterprises, 233 So.2d 524 (Miss.1970); Marlon Investment Co. v. Conner, 246 Miss. 343, 149 So.2d 312 (1963); Dry v. Ford, 238 Miss. 98, 117 So.2d 456 (1960......
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