Sandstrom v. AAD Temple Bldg. Ass'n, 38742

CourtSupreme Court of Minnesota (US)
Citation127 N.W.2d 173,267 Minn. 407
Docket NumberNo. 38742,38742
PartiesKathryn SANDSTROM and Sigfred F. Sandstrom, Appellants, v. The AAD TEMPLE BUILDING ASSOCIATION, INC., Respondent.
Decision Date13 March 1964

Page 173

127 N.W.2d 173
267 Minn. 407
Kathryn SANDSTROM and Sigfred F. Sandstrom, Appellants,
No. 38742.
Supreme Court of Minnesota.
March 13, 1964.

Page 174

Syllabus by the Court

Possessor owes to bare licensee only duty to exercise reasonable care to disclose to him dangerous defects which are known to him and likely to be undiscovered by licensee.

James J. Courtney & Sons, Paul J. Louisell, Duluth, for appellants.

Reavill, Jenswold, Neimeyer, Johnson & Killen, Duluth, for respondent.

MURPHY, Justice.

This is an appeal from an order granting judgment for defendant notwithstanding the verdict of the jury for plaintiffs in a personal injury case. It is contended that on the basis of the facts, hereinafter summarized, the trial court erred in determining that the defendant was free from negligence as a matter of law and that plaintiff was contributorily negligent as a matter of law.

The accident occurred on the premises of the Shrine Auditorium in the city of Duluth. The building is owned and operated by Aad Temple Building Association, Inc., a fraternal organization, which occasionally permits its use by other organizations. At the request of the county welfare office the building was made available, without charge, on December 6, 1960, to the Plus 65 Club, or Golden Age Group, an organization of persons over 65 years of age. Plaintiff Kathryn Sandstrom, referred to herein as plaintiff, as a member of her church group, [267 Minn. 408] was a sponsor of the Golden Age Group. On the morning of December 6 she, with about 50 other ladies, was making preparations for a party to be held by the organization in the auditorium that afternoon. After working there about 3 hours, she had occasion to visit the ladies' washroom in the building. Upon leaving the washroom she fell, sustaining injuries which are the subject of this action.

The washroom is entered through a vestibule, the door of the washroom opening to the inside. The floor of the washroom is about 5 inches above the level of the floor in the rest of the auditorium. On the inside of the door is a handpainted sign about a foot square saying, 'Watch Your Step.' At the threshold is fastened a strip of red cloth, the purpose of which is to call attention to the presence of the step. The strip of cloth is held down by black or dark tape. Plaintiff was aware of the presence of the step. She did not know at the time what caused the fall. She testified that about a week or so later, as she was sitting at home attempting to reconstruct the incident in her mind's eye, it came to her that after the fall she saw the custodian of the building straightening out the torn or rumpled mat. This was denied by the custodian. It is unnecessary for the purpose of this opinion to discuss the facts as they bear upon the contributory negligence of plaintiff since we hold that under the circumstances as disclosed by the record there was no breach of duty on the part of the defendant association. The determinative fact here is that plaintiff was present upon the premises for a purpose in which defendant had no interest, either business or social, and that defendant extended the privilege to plaintiff of entering the premises as a mere favor, without any benefit to it.

Page 175

The liability of defendant turns upon the relationship of the parties as they existed at the time of the accident. It is conceded by the parties that the status of plaintiff was that of a gratuitous licensee. A gratuitous licensee is defined as 'any licensee other than a business visitor,' which definition, according to Restatement, Torts, § 331, includes:

'A licensee whose presence upon the land is solely for the licensee's own purposes, in which the possessor has no interest, either business or social, and to whom the privilege of entering is extended as a mere favor by express consent or by general or local custom.'

[267 Minn. 409] It was at one time held that a person entering upon the property of another for his own purpose, although with the consent of the possessor, took the property as he found it, and therefore the possessor of land was not required to conduct his activities with regard to that person's safety, 1 subject to the exception that the possessor must not inflict willful, wanton, or intentional injury on him. 2 The rigors of this rule have been tempered by the adoption of the principles contained in Restatement, Torts, § 342, as follows:

'A possessor of land is subject to liability for bodily harm caused to gratuitous licensees by a natural or artificial condition thereon if, but only if, he

'(a) knows of the condition and realizes that it involves an unreasonable risk to them and has reason to believe that they will not discover the condition or realize the risk, and

'(b) invites or permits them to enter or...

To continue reading

Request your trial
20 cases
  • Peterson v. Balach, 42630
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 14 July 1972
    ...involved.' See, Holland v. Hedenstad, Supra; Carlson v. Rand, 275 Minn. 272, 146 N.W.2d 190 (1966); Sandstrom v. The AAD Temple Building Assn. Inc., 267 Minn. 407, 127 N.W.2d 173 (1964); and Thayer v. Silker, We are urged by appellant to break with tradition and abolish the distinctions rel......
  • Dean v. Weisbrod, 44257
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 26 April 1974
    ...287 Minn. 244, 177 N.W.2d 784 (1970); Carlson v. Rand, 275 Minn. 272, 146 N.W.2d 190 (1966); Sandstrom v. The AAD Temple Bldg. Assn., Inc., 267 Minn. 407, 127 N.W.2d 173 (1964); and Thayer v. Silker, 267 Minn. 268, 126 N.W.2d 263 From the evidence in this case, we believe the jury could hav......
  • State v. Elbert, A18-1280
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 22 April 2020
    ...evidence of " ‘diminution in value of only the real estate is relevant.’ " Strom , 493 N.W.2d at 559 (quoting Hendrickson , 127 N.W.2d at 173 ). Evidence "concerning any factor which would affect the price a purchaser willing but not required to buy the property would pay an owner willing b......
  • Smith v. City of Owatonna, C5-88-1789
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 19 January 1990
  • 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