Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Licensee vs. Invitee Status in a Slip and Fall Case

In its recent decision in the case of Hackett v. Indian King Residents Ass’n., No. 3600 EDA 2017 (Pa. Super. Aug. 29, 2018 Shogan, J., Gantman, J., and Platt, J.), the court affirmed the denial of a Plaintiff’s post-trial motions after a defense verdict in a slip or trip and fall case.   

In this matter, the Plaintiff alleges she tripped and fell in a common area of a community.   One of the main issues in this case was whether the Plaintiff should be deemed to be a licensee or an invitee.

The Plaintiff asserted that, since she had paid common area maintenance fees to the residents’ association, she should be considered to be a business invitee.

The Superior Court disagreed and found that the mere paying of common area maintenance fees did not create invitee status under Pennsylvania law.   Rather, the Plaintiff was deemed to be licensee since, as a resident of the community, she used the common areas by permission, and not by the Defendant’s invitation.  

The court also noted that an invitation must be more than mere permission to access common areas in order to make one a business invitee in this context.  

Also of note in this decision was the court’s ruling that the Condominium Act does not apply to homeowners’ associations.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this case may click this LINK.

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