South-Western Legal Studies in Business

A Guest on One Part of Property Can Be a Trespasser on another Part of the Property
Description Maine high court held that a dinner guest who went, without knowledge of the property owner, to look in another house being built on the home owner's property, and was injured when he did, was a trespasser. The status of a guest owed a duty of care was lost when the guest went, uninvited, on other parts of the property.
Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words Negligence; Trespass; Premises Liability
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts While Livingston was having a new home built on his property, he lived in another house forty feet from the construction site. He invited Inkel and others to join him for Easter dinner at his house. After dinner, Inkel stepped outside to smoke. Curious about the construction, he went into the dimly lit area and fell into a hole inside the house and suffered injuries. Inkel sued Livingson and the builder for negligence. The trial court held that while Inkel was in the house Livingston occupied, he was an invitee. When he was in the house under construction, he was a trespasser who was owed no duty of care by the owner or the builder. Inkel appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. For purposes of premises liability, a person retains his status as a guest only while he is on the part of the land to which his invitation extends-or the part of the land upon which the possessor gives him reason to believe that his presence is desired for the purpose for which he has come. When a guest enters a part of the possessor's premises to which there was no express or implied invitation to go, there can be no recovery for resulting injury, even though he is an invitee to other parts of the premises. Such determinations are a question of fact in each case.

Citation Inkel v. Livingston, 869 A.2d 745 (Sup. Jud. Ct., Maine, 2005)

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