Geise v. Lee, No. 43266

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Writing for the CourtHUNTER; HALE
Citation84 Wn.2d 866,529 P.2d 1054
PartiesLulu Owens GEISE, Petitioner, v. Wallace LEE and Jane Doe Lee, doing business as Lazy Wheels Mobile Home Park, Respondents.
Decision Date02 January 1975
Docket NumberNo. 43266

Page 866

84 Wn.2d 866
529 P.2d 1054
Lulu Owens GEISE, Petitioner,
Wallace LEE and Jane Doe Lee, doing business as Lazy Wheels
Mobile Home Park, Respondents.
No. 43266.
Supreme Court of Washington, En Banc.
Jan. 2, 1975.

Page 867

[529 P.2d 1055] Owen J. Wales, Seattle, for petitioner.

Martin, Niemi, Burch & Mentele, Susan F. French, Seattle, for respondents.

HUNTER, Associate Justice.

The plaintiff (petitioner), Lulu Owens Geise, a tenant in a mobile home park, brought suit against the defendants (respondents), Wallace Lee and Jane Doe Lee, doing business as Lazy Wheels Mobile Home Park, for injuries incurred by slipping on snow and ice which had accumulated in a common area of the park. The Lazy Wheels Mobile Home Park, located in Bothell, Washington, is comprised of approximately 100 spaces for mobile homes. Between the rows of spaces provided for the homes are driveways intended for both vehicular and pedestrian use, neither of which is exclusive in any given spot. All tenants were free to share these driveways in common with each other for their own particular needs.

The plaintiff is 61 years old and has been a tenant of the park since 1965. During the period beginning on January 23, 1972, and continuing until January 26, 1972, a total of approximately 12 to 14 inches of snow fell and accumulated in the driveways. During the following week, melting and freezing conditions combined with passing cars, caused ridges of ice, 4 to 6 inches in height, to form throughout the common areas creating a hazardous condition for any tenant who ventured into these expanses. The defendants had actual knowledge of this condition, having been informed by both the plaintiff and other tenants. Several of the residents of the park had fallen, resulting in one being taken to the hospital.

Page 868

In spite of these adverse conditions, no attempt was ever made to clear the common areas for the benefit of the tenants, a large percentage of whom were retired individuals. On February 1, 1972, the plaintiff, while carefully making her way to her sister's car, slipped and fell on the ice causing serious injury to her person. As a result of this accident, the plaintiff initiated this action alleging that the defendants were negligent in failing to exercise reasonable care to keep the common areas under their control in a reasonably safe condition. The defendants moved for summary judgment supported solely by the facts surrounding the accident and Mr. Lee's affidavit which stated:

I am the owner and proprietor of the trailer park where Mrs. Geise rented a space. In the January-February snow of [529 P.2d 1056] 1972, I did not clean the street where she fell prior to her fall. I did not want to assume the responsibility of keeping the streets clear of snow and ice, and all the tenants knew it.

The trial court granted the defendants' motion on the grounds that they did not owe any duty to the plaintiff under these facts. This decision was unanimously affirmed by the Court of Appeals in Geise v. Lee, 10 Wash.App. 728, 519 P.2d 1005 (1974). The case comes before us upon our granting the plaintiff's petition for review.

The sole issue before this court is whether a landlord or owner has a duty to exercise reasonable care in providing safe common areas upon his rental premises, free from dangerous accumulations of smow and ice, absent a prior undertaking of such a service.

The general rule in the United States is that where an owner divides his premises and rents certain parts to various tenants, while reserving other parts such as entrances and walkways for the common use of all tenants, it is his duty to exercise reasonable care and maintain these common areas...

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34 cases
  • Iwai v. State, No. 62616-2
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • May 9, 1996
    ...P.2d 213, 230 P.2d 600, 26 A.L.R.2d 604 (1950). In 1975, this court flatly rejected the Massachusetts rule. Geise v. Lee, 84 Wash.2d 866, 529 P.2d 1054 (1975) (imposing the duty on mobile home park owners to keep the driveways between the homes safe for pedestrian traffic where snow and ice......
  • Cascade Sec. Bank v. Butler, No. 43812
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 14, 1977
    ...relied in good faith on the rule. Geise v. Lee, 10 Wash. Page 785 App. 728, 519 P.2d 1005 (1974), rev'd on other grounds, 84 Wash.2d 866, 529 P.2d 1054 (1975). Appellate courts possess the power to give their decisions prospective effect, i. e., not to apply the decision to the parties in t......
  • Harrison v. Taylor, No. 17002
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • January 17, 1989
    ...probably the growing view, known as the "Connecticut rule," which rejects the natural accumulation no-duty rule. See Geise v. Lee, 1975, 84 Wn.2d 866, 529 P.2d 1054; Hammond v. Allegretti, 1974, 262 Ind. 82, 311 N.E.2d 821; Quinlivan v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., 1975, 395 Mich. 244,......
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • September 27, 2001 is his duty to exercise reasonable care and maintain these common areas in a safe condition." Geise v. Lee, 84 Wash.2d 866, 868, 529 P.2d 1054 [A tenant] "`enters upon an implied representation or assurance that the land has been prepared and made ready and safe for his reception. He is ......
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