Provencher v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., No. 88-2062

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Ohio
Writing for the CourtHOLMES; MOYER
Citation551 N.E.2d 1257,49 Ohio St.3d 265
Decision Date14 March 1990
Docket NumberNo. 88-2062
PartiesPROVENCHER et al., Appellees, v. OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Appellant.

Page 265

49 Ohio St.3d 265
551 N.E.2d 1257
PROVENCHER et al., Appellees,
v.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Appellant.
No. 88-2062.
Supreme Court of Ohio.
Submitted Jan. 10, 1990.
Decided March 14, 1990.

Syllabus by the Court

Individuals who use public roadside rest area facilities are, as a general rule, licensees for purposes of establishing the duty of care owed to them by the state or its agencies. (Light v. Ohio University [1986], 28 Ohio St.3d 66, 28 OBR 165, 502 N.E.2d 611, approved and followed.)

On June 6, 1985, plaintiff-appellee Kelly Provencher fell and fractured her right ankle while descending steps located at Rest Area 9-11, State Route 23, Waverly, Ohio. Rest Area 9-11 is owned, operated, and maintained by defendant-appellee, Ohio Department of Transportation ("ODOT").

[551 N.E.2d 1258] Both appellees, Kelly Provencher and her husband, John G. Provencher, filed an action in the Court of Claims of Ohio on April 29, 1986, alleging that ODOT negligently maintained the steps located at the roadside rest area. The complaint sought judgment against ODOT for Mrs. Provencher's injuries incurred due to her fall and for her husband's loss of services and consortium.

On February 24, 1988, the Court of Claims dismissed appellees' action for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The appellees appealed, asserting that the trial court erred in holding that ODOT owed them no duty beyond refraining from willful or wanton misconduct.

The court of appeals reversed, holding that Mrs. Provencher was a public invitee, and that, therefore, ODOT owed her a duty to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of its facility.

The cause is now before this court upon the allowance of a motion to certify the record.

Sindell, Rubenstein, Einbund, Pavlik, Novak & Celebrezze, Lewis Einbund, Cleveland, and Terry A. Bryer, for appellees.

Anthony J. Celebrezze, Jr., Atty. Gen., David C. Calderhead and Simon B. Karas, Columbus, for appellant.

HOLMES, Justice.

The single issue presented for our review concerns the duty of care owed by the state of Ohio to persons using public roadside rest area facilities. We are asked to recognize the "public invitee" standard, as set forth in 2 Restatement of the Law 2d, Torts (1965), Section 332(2), which imposes a duty, upon the owner or occupier, of ordinary care in maintaining his or her premises in a safe condition where persons are merely invited to enter. For the reasons which follow, we decline to adopt the "public invitee" standard.

This court has defined an "invitee" as " * * * a business visitor [or business invitee], that is, one rightfully on the

Page 266

premises of another for purposes in which the possessor of the premises has a beneficial interest." Scheibel v. Lipton (1951), 156 Ohio St. 308, 328-329, 46 O.O. 177, 186, 102 N.E.2d 453, 463; see, also, Light v. Ohio University (1986), 28 Ohio St.3d 66, 68, 28 OBR 165, 167, 502 N.E.2d 611, 613. In Light, in holding that users of gymnasium facilities of a state university were licensees, the court distinguished licensees and invitees. We stated that "[b]usiness invitees are persons who come upon the premises of another, by invitation, express or implied, for some purpose which is beneficial to the owner. Scheibel v. Lipton (1951), 156 Ohio St. 308 [46 O.O. 177, 102 N.E.2d 453]. It is the duty of the owner of the premises to exercise ordinary care and to protect the invitee by maintaining the premises in a safe condition. Presley v. Norwood (1973), 36 Ohio St.2d 29, 31 [65 O.O.2d 129, 303 N.E.2d 81]. Conversely, a person who enters the premises of another by permission or acquiescence, for his own pleasure or benefit, and not by invitation, is a licensee. A licensee takes his license subject to its attendant perils and risks. The licensor is not liable for ordinary negligence and owes the licensee no duty except to refrain from wantonly or willfully causing injury. Hannan v. Ehrlich (1921), 102 Ohio St. 176 [131 N.E. 504] paragraph four of the syllabus; see Scheurer v. Trustees of the Open Bible Church (1963), 175 Ohio St. 163 [23 O.O.2d 453, 192 N.E.2d 38]." Id. at 68, 28 OBR at 167, 502 N.E.2d at 613-614.

Appellees maintain that the increased safety of Ohio's highways which results from highway travelers' use of the rest areas is of sufficient benefit to the state of Ohio to confer invitee status upon all highway travelers who stop at the rest areas. We disagree. Appellees have failed to set forth any facts that would indicate that Mrs. Provencher's activities at the roadside rest area on June 6, 1985 were for the purpose of conducting business with ODOT. Furthermore, appellees have not set forth any benefit received by ODOT due to Mrs. Provencher's visit to its roadside rest area. Increased safety on the highways is not the type of benefit intended under our prior...

To continue reading

Request your trial
152 practice notes
  • Gladon v. Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Auth., No. 94-1063
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • 6 mars 1996
    ...144 Ohio St. 373, 29 O.O. 559, 59 N.E.2d 138, at paragraph one of the syllabus. See, also, Provencher v. Ohio Dept. of Transp. (1990), 49 Ohio St.3d 265, 266, 551 N.E.2d 1257, 1258; McKinney v. Hartz & Restle Realtors, Inc. (1987), 31 Ohio St.3d 244, 246, 31 OBR 449, 450-451, 510 N.E.2d 386......
  • Stewart v. Lake Cty. Historical Soc., No. 2004-L-164.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • 15 septembre 2006
    ...Owens v. Taco Bell Corp. (June 21, 1996), 11th Dist. No. 95-L-180, 1996 WL 649131, citing Provencher v. Ohio Dept. of Transp. (1990), 49 Ohio St.3d 265, 265-266, 551 N.E.2d 1257. {¶ 17} Appellee owed its business invitees a duty of reasonable care in maintaining its premises in a safe condi......
  • Headley v. Home Depot United Statesa., Inc., CASE NO. 5:13-cv-1839
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • 8 juillet 2014
    ...to the owner—the duty to exercise ordinary care by "maintaining the premises in a safe condition." Provencher v. Ohio Dep't of Transp., 49 Ohio St. 3d 265, 266, 551 N.E.2d 1257 (1990). The duty of ordinary care also includes warning the invitee of unreasonably dangerous latent conditions. M......
  • Strevel v. Fresh Encounter, Inc., Case No. 15CA5
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • 24 novembre 2015
    ...by Ohio courts in order to distinguish the status of an invitee from that of a licensee. Id. Provencher v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 49 Ohio St.3d 265, 266, 551 N.E.2d 125 (1990). {¶11} The trial court correctly determined that Appellant was a business invitee on the premises of the grocery st......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
151 cases
  • Gladon v. Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Auth., No. 94-1063
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • 6 mars 1996
    ...144 Ohio St. 373, 29 O.O. 559, 59 N.E.2d 138, at paragraph one of the syllabus. See, also, Provencher v. Ohio Dept. of Transp. (1990), 49 Ohio St.3d 265, 266, 551 N.E.2d 1257, 1258; McKinney v. Hartz & Restle Realtors, Inc. (1987), 31 Ohio St.3d 244, 246, 31 OBR 449, 450-451, 510 N.E.2d 386......
  • Stewart v. Lake Cty. Historical Soc., No. 2004-L-164.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • 15 septembre 2006
    ...Owens v. Taco Bell Corp. (June 21, 1996), 11th Dist. No. 95-L-180, 1996 WL 649131, citing Provencher v. Ohio Dept. of Transp. (1990), 49 Ohio St.3d 265, 265-266, 551 N.E.2d 1257. {¶ 17} Appellee owed its business invitees a duty of reasonable care in maintaining its premises in a safe condi......
  • Headley v. Home Depot United Statesa., Inc., CASE NO. 5:13-cv-1839
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • 8 juillet 2014
    ...to the owner—the duty to exercise ordinary care by "maintaining the premises in a safe condition." Provencher v. Ohio Dep't of Transp., 49 Ohio St. 3d 265, 266, 551 N.E.2d 1257 (1990). The duty of ordinary care also includes warning the invitee of unreasonably dangerous latent conditions. M......
  • Strevel v. Fresh Encounter, Inc., Case No. 15CA5
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • 24 novembre 2015
    ...by Ohio courts in order to distinguish the status of an invitee from that of a licensee. Id. Provencher v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 49 Ohio St.3d 265, 266, 551 N.E.2d 125 (1990). {¶11} The trial court correctly determined that Appellant was a business invitee on the premises of the grocery st......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT