Garnier v. St. Andrew Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, 53653

Decision Date10 November 1969
Docket NumberNo. 53653,53653
Citation446 S.W.2d 607
PartiesOttelea P. GARNIER and George M. Garnier, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. ST. ANDREW PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF ST. LOUIS, Missouri, Defendant-Respondent.
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

Gerritzen & Gerritzen, by Ray Gerritzen, St. Louis, for plaintiffs-appellants.

Robert E. Keaney, Moser, Marsalek, Carpenter, Cleary & Jaeckel, St. Louis, for defendant-respondent.

Forrest P. Carson, George A. Rozier, Jefferson City, Elliott P. Koenig, St. Louis, for amici curiae.

Carson, Inglish, Monaco & Coil, Jefferson City, for amicus curiae, Missouri Hospital Assn.

Rassieur, Long, Yawitz, Koenig & Schneider, St. Louis, for amicus curiae, Hospital Assn. of Metropolitan St. Louis.

HENLEY, Chief Justice.

This is an action in two counts by wife and her husband against a church for damages for personal injuries and loss of services. The total amount prayed for is $45,000. Allegations of the petition are, in substance, that while entering the church to attend services Sunday, March 5, 1967, Mrs. Garnier, as a result of defendant's negligence, slipped and fell on the water-covered slick tile floor of the church entranceway and was injured. Defendant moved for summary judgment, alleging that it is, and owns and holds the church premises as, a benevolent, religious, nonprofit corporation and charitable institution and, therefore, is immune from liability for its torts. The motion was sustained, judgment was entered for defendant, and plaintiffs appealed.

This case presents the same question as that presented and decided in Abernathy v. Sisters of St. Mary's, Mo., 446 S.W.2d 599, handed down concurrently herewith. The reasons given in our opinion in that case for abandoning the doctrine of charitable immunity apply no less to churches than to hospitals 1 and we would reverse and remand without further discussion were we not faced with a point raised in respondent's brief in this case not raised in the Abernathy case.

Respondent raises the point and contends for the first time on appeal that plaintiffs' petition fails to state a claim for relief in that, although plaintiffs pleaded Mrs. Garnier was an invitee and that respondent failed to exercise ordinary care for her safety, the fact is Mrs. Garnier was a licensee and, therefore, plaintiffs were required to plead willful and wanton misconduct on the part of respondent.

As indicated, respondent did not make this allegation in its motion for summary judgment. Had it alleged in its motion facts showing Mrs. Garnier was a licensee there would have been presented to the trial court a genuine issue of fact as to her status on the church premises. Hence, with the pleadings in that posture, the granting of summary judgment on that issue would not have been appropriate, and the trial court would not have disposed of the case on respondent's motion. Civil Rule 74.04(h), V.A.M.R.

Respondent's assertion here for the first time in its brief that Mrs. Garnier was a licensee, not an invitee, stands merely as a bare, unsupported, conclusionary allegation. All we have before us are the bare, conflicting, undetermined allegations of fact of the petition as opposed to this assertion in respondent's brief. This question of fact is for determination in the trial court in the first instance, not in the appellate court. Hence, we may not decide and need not further notice this point.

For the reasons stated in Abernathy, supra, we hold that our decision...

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11 cases
  • O'Dell v. School Dist. of Independence
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 10 March 1975
    ...for the individual to bear the loss than to impose it on the entire congregation. We have rejected this philosophy. Garnier v. St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 446 S.W.2d 607 (Mo. banc 1969). A third basis of the doctrine, mentioned in earlier Missouri cases was the old concept that the king......
  • Gibson v. Brewer
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 19 August 1997
    ...immunity in Missouri--authorized a person who slipped and fell on church premises to sue for negligence. Garnier v. St. Andrew Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, 446 S.W.2d 607, 608 (Mo. banc 1969). "The result is that the church, as the owner and occupier of the premises in question, is sub......
  • Jones v. State Highway Commission
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 12 September 1977
    ...a loss than the public which would then be forced to suffer an inconvenience. This concept was rejected by us in Garnier v. St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 446 S.W.2d 607 (Mo. banc Third, the often quoted maxim that the king can do no wrong has been offered frequently to justify the continu......
  • Abernathy v. Sisters of St. Mary's, 53883
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 10 November 1969
    ...for the tortious acts of its agents and employees. We abolish the doctrine. This case and another, Garnier et al. v. St. Andrew Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Mo., 446 S.W.2d 607, presenting the same question and decided concurrently herewith, were first briefed, argued and submitted in ......
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