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Invitees Cases Summarized By Injury Lawyer

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Invitees and the related topic of premises liability. For more information about invitees see the pages on Wikipedia.


See Va. Code § 29.1-509 as to duty of care and liability of landowners to hunters, fishermen, sightseers, campers, participants in water sports, hiking, hang gliding, skydiving, horseback riding, bicycle riding, collecting, gathering or, removing of firewood.


1995 Franconia Assocs. v. Clark, 250 Va. 444, 463 S.E.2d 670.

Plaintiff was invitee at shopping mall when he was advised that nearby store had been robbed and he pursued robber. In doing so, he did not lose status as invitee.

1989 Clark v. Chapman, 238 Va. 655, 385 S.E.2d 885.

Plaintiff injured by large cart in grocery store. Plaintiff had duty to be aware of open and obvious dangers. Shopper does not reasonably expect to be hit by large cart in grocery store.

1997 Wright v. Webb, 234 Va. 527, 362 S.E.2d 919.

Defendant operated motel. Defendant provided parking lot not only for motel but also for adjacent dinner theater. Plaintiff parked in lot and entered motel to get directions to theater. When she returned to car, she was assaulted. Court assumed she was invitee without deciding this issue.

1986 Fobbs v. Webb Bldg. Ltd. P’ship, 232 Va. 227, 349 S.E.2d 355.

Duty of owner to invitees: (1) to use ordinary care to have the premises in reasonably safe condition for use consistent with invitation; and (2) to use ordinary care to warn its invitees of any unsafe condition that was known or by use of ordinary care should have been known to owner except that owner has no duty to warn its invitees of unsafe condition which is open and obvious to reasonable person exercising ordinary care for his safety.

1986 Appalachian Power Co. v. Sanders, 232 Va. 189, 349 S.E.2d 101.

Lessee, as possessor and occupant of leased premises, owes same duty to its invitees as owner owes to its own invitees.

1983 City of Suffolk v. Hewitt, 226 Va. 20, 307 S.E.2d 444.

Plaintiff walked through unmarked door into dark room and fell down stairs. City argued that she had exceeded scope of invitation. Court held that scope of invitation depends not only on place to which city intended or believed plaintiff but also upon areas to which she was impliedly invited to go by appearance and condition of property. In this case plaintiff was held to be invitee. Court held that invitee who mistakenly enters doorway that appears to, but does not, provide access to business area he intends to enter is not contributorily negligent as matter of law if there was no indication, by sign or otherwise, that door was not for public use.

1982 Bauer v. Harn, 223 Va. 31, 286 S.E.2d 192.

Person is invitee when landowner or occupier has extended express or implied invitation to visitor and visitor enters pursuant to invitation. Social guest is bare licensee.

1981 Colonial Nat. Gas Co. v. Sayers, 222 Va. 781, 284 S.E.2d 599.

Tenant injured by stepping into settled ditch across path used by tenants in apartment complex was invitee and did not assume risk or act with contributory negligence as matter of law.

1977 Roll “R” Way Rinks v. Smith, 218 Va. 321, 237 S.E.2d 157.

Owner owes invitee duty to use ordinary care to maintain premises in reasonably safe condition and unless dangerous condition is open and obvious, invitee has right to assume that premises are in such condition.

1975 Indian Acres of Thornburg, Inc. v. Denion, 215 Va. 847, 213 S.E.2d 797.

Landowner must exercise ordinary care to see that his premises are in reasonably safe condition for use of invitee. Invitee is owed duty of prevision, preparation, and lookout. Notice or warning by owner is required of unsafe condition known to him and unknown to invitee, unless such condition is open and obvious. No duty to warn in present case since unforeseeable that 12-year-old boy would throw concrete from tower and hit plaintiff.

1974 Charlottesville Music Center, Inc. v. McCray, 215 Va. 31, 205 S.E.2d 674.

Person who comes on premises for second time with knowledge, approval, and consent to perform gratuitous service is invitee.

1974 Wynne v. Spainhour, 215 Va. 16, 205 S.E.2d 634.

Customer as invitee is owed duty of ordinary care to maintain premises in reasonably safe condition for plaintiff’s visit and to warn of hidden dangers. Snow and ice, slip and fall case; negligence not proven.

1974 Appalachian Power Co. v. LaForce, 214 Va. 438, 201 S.E.2d 768.

To invitee, owner, or occupant owes duty of prevision, preparation, and lookout as well as duty of ordinary care to see that premises are in reasonably safe condition. No such duty in present case since plaintiff was trespasser or bare licensee.

1972 Tazewell Supply Co. v. Turner, 213 Va. 93, 189 S.E.2d 347.

Plaintiff invitee was owed duty by defendant to use reasonable (ordinary) care to have premises reasonably safe for invitee’s visit. Defendant required to warn plaintiff of latent dangers that were or should have been known to him and that were unknown to plaintiff. No duty to warn of open and obvious danger such as box on floor of store.

1965 Southern States Grain Mktg. Coop. v. Garber, 205 Va. 757, 139 S.E.2d 793.

Plaintiff delivering load to defendant is business invitee.

1965 Vought v. Jones, 205 Va. 719, 139 S.E.2d 810.

Defendant sold ice cream from truck on side of road. Plaintiff injured while crossing street after buying ice cream. Plaintiff was invitee and defendant obliged to exercise ordinary care to provide reasonably safe place for plaintiff.

1964 Shiflett v. Timberlake, Inc., 205 Va. 406, 137 S.E.2d 908.

Plaintiff had right to assume defendant’s store reasonably safe.

1964 City of Richmond v. Grizzard, 205 Va. 298, 136 S.E.2d 827.

Plaintiff on way to Sunday School in church when injured. Plaintiff is invitee. Situations cited where persons held to be invitees.

1962 Stein v. Powell, 203 Va. 423, 124 S.E.2d 889.

Child, in store with parents, ran into dressing room and was injured. Child held to be invitee.

1962 A & P v. Rosenberger, 203 Va. 378, 124 S.E.2d 26.

Plaintiff has right to assume premises reasonably safe until on notice of unsafe condition; defendant obliged to warn of hidden dangers.

1960 Snyder v. Ginn, 202 Va. 8, 116 S.E.2d 31.

Plaintiff walked into glass door in store. Plaintiff guilty of contributory negligence as matter of law.

1959 Certified TV & Appliance Co. v. Harrington, 201 Va. 109, 109 S.E.2d 126.

Shelf fell on plaintiff. No duty on part of invitee to show affirmatively that she had received no warning of dangerous condition.

1958 Gottlieb v. Andrus, 200 Va. 114, 104 S.E.2d 743.

Defendant is required to warn invitee of latent dangers that were or should have been known to him and that were unknown to plaintiff. Plaintiff fell on box in grocery store, open and obvious condition; contributory negligence as a matter of law.

1956 Atlantic Co. v. Morrisette, 198 Va. 332, 94 S.E.2d 220.

Defendant obliged to warn invitees of latent dangers of which he knew or should have known.

1955 Gayle v. Hazelwood, 196 Va. 674, 85 S.E.2d 243.

Negligent landlord liable to tenant’s invitee.

1954 Montgomery Ward & Co. v. Young, 195 Va. 671, 79 S.E.2d 858.

Plaintiff stepped on lawn mower handle that flew up and hit him while walking down aisle in defendant’s warehouse. He was invitee and as such, defendant had duty to exercise reasonable care to make particular area reasonably safe for plaintiff’s use or to give him adequate warning of any hidden or concealed danger.

1954 Charles v. Commonwealth Motors, Inc., 195 Va. 576, 79 S.E.2d 594.

Owner of business premises owes invitee duty of ordinary care to have its premises reasonably safe. Invitee can assume that they are so and unless dangerous condition is obvious, he need not be on lookout for it, absent knowledge or warning.

1953 Atlantic Rural Exposition, Inc. v. Fagan, 195 Va. 13, 77 S.E.2d 368.

Plaintiff injured at racetrack when wheel came off car. Duty of reasonable care owed to invitees.

1953 Thalhimer Bros. v. Buckner, 194 Va. 1011, 76 S.E.2d 215.

Owner of premises ought not to be accountable for negligent or wrongful use by his invitees of appliances that are safe and harmless if used for purpose and in way intended unless he should have reasonably anticipated improper use.

1953 Crocker v. WTAR, 194 Va. 572, 74 S.E.2d 51.

Owner is not insurer of invitee’s safety, but must use ordinary care to render premises reasonably safe. Jury issue as to whether defendant under duty to warn of 6-inch difference in floor level.

1951 Trimyer v. Norfolk Tallow Co., 192 Va. 776, 66 S.E.2d 441.

Owner is obliged to warn invitee of danger that owner knew or should have known and that invitees did not know and could not reasonably discover. Current of electricity transmitted to plaintiff through crane he was operating. Employee of independent contractor is invitee of property owner on whose property he is working.

1951 Oliver v. Cashin, 192 Va. 540, 65 S.E.2d 571.

Where plaintiff’s call on tenant is matter of common interest or mutual advantage then he is invitee or business guest.

1951 Sadler v. Lynch, 192 Va. 344, 64 S.E.2d 664.

Warning that must be given to invitees of danger must be given in reasonably effective way.

1949 Comess v. Norfolk Gen. Hosp., 189 Va. 229, 52 S.E.2d 125.

Owner must give notice or warning of unsafe condition that is known to him and is unknown to invitees; but notice is not required where dangerous condition is open and obvious. Plaintiff had been accustomed to using walkway and without warning its use was discontinued and chain put across it. Implied invitation exists since no notices posted prohibiting plaintiff from using path in question.

1949 Whitfield v. Cox, 189 Va. 219, 52 S.E.2d 72.

Owner of place of amusement is under duty to exercise reasonable care for safety of invitees.

1949 Tidewater Stevedoring Corp. v. McCormick, 189 Va. 158, 52 S.E.2d 61.

Plaintiff on premises with knowledge and consent of defendant so that he could perform his duties as carpenter, was owed duty of ordinary and reasonable care while engaged in employment.

1948 Walker v. Memorial Hosp., 187 Va. 5, 45 S.E.2d 898.

Visitor to hospital is invitee. Invitees must exercise reasonable care for own safety.

1946 Virginia Stage Lines v. Spencer, 184 Va. 870, 36 S.E.2d 522.

Where defendant blocked passageway across which plaintiff has right to walk and thereby forced plaintiff to pass over defendant’s property then plaintiff is defendant’s implied invitee and thus owes ordinary care to plaintiff.

1945 Smith v. Wiley-Hall Motors, 184 Va. 49, 34 S.E.2d 233.

Plaintiff fell into grease pit while in search of rest room in gas station. Duty owed to invitee is co-extensive with invitation issuing.

1945 Norfolk Belt Line v. Jones, 183 Va. 536, 32 S.E.2d 720.

Where it was custom of paymaster of independent contractor to come onto property of owner to pay men and owner knew this, then paymaster was invitee.

1944 Kirby v. Moehlman, 182 Va. 876, 30 S.E.2d 548.

In determining extent of duty, regard must be had to character of invitation. Here plaintiff was guest in inn. Plaintiff sat on defective rocking chair. Qualified duty of ordinary care becomes absolute duty where proprietor knew or should have known of danger that might have easily been removed.

1944 C. & P. Tel. Co. v. Bullock, 182 Va. 440, 29 S.E.2d 228.

Plaintiff, an employee of electric company that shared utility pole with phone company, was injured while descending pole. His foot touched wire of phone company that had not been properly secured. Invitation to use pole did not extend to use of wire, therefore plaintiff was not invitee as to use of wire.

1944 Virginia State Fair Ass’n v. Burton, 182 Va. 365, 28 S.E.2d 716.

Automobile race. Duty of ordinary care to invitees continued even though fair association had hired independent contractor to produce races.

1943 Raven Red Ash Coal Co. v. Griffith, 181 Va. 911, 27 S.E.2d 360.

Duty owed by property owner to invitee is that of exercising ordinary care to render premises reasonably safe and extends only to those areas where invitees are reasonably expected to go.

1943 Acme Mkt. v. Remschel, 181 Va. 171, 24 S.E.2d 430.

Owner or occupant of land or building owes to invitees duty to have premises in reasonably safe condition and to give warning of latent or concealed defects.

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Invitees Cases Summarized By Injury Lawyer

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