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Licensee Cases Summarized By Personal 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 Licensee. For more information about licensees see the pages on Wikipedia.

Bare Licensee

1975 Rouse v. A & P, 216 Va. 293, 217 S.E.2d 891.

Supreme Court assumed, without deciding, that plaintiff was bare licensee in open field owned by defendant.

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

Bare licensee is one who is permitted by passive acquiescence of owner to come on his property for his own convenience. Owner must not intentionally injure him, but he owes him duty of active protection only after he knows of his danger or might have known of it and avoided it by reasonable care.

1950 Tiller v. Norfolk & W. Ry., 190 Va. 605, 58 S.E.2d 45.

Where employee instructed to stay away from railroad car and he disobeys order by staying on car in course of it being shifted, he is bare licensee or trespasser.

1949 Chesapeake & O. Ry. v. Faison, 189 Va. 341, 52 S.E.2d 865.

Railroad crossing accident. Bare licensee takes crossing as he finds it. Railroad owed plaintiff no duty to keep crossing in reasonably safe condition or to give plaintiff warning of presence of gate.

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

Even if plaintiff is bare licensee, when defendant has reason to know that plaintiff and other pedestrians use its property as thoroughfare, then defendant owes plaintiff duty to exercise ordinary care to discover and avoid injuring plaintiff.

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

One who is permitted by passive acquiescence of owner to come on his premises for his own convenience is bare licensee. Bare licensee takes upon himself ordinary risks attached to place he is visiting. When invitee goes to area not covered by invitation, then he is at best bare licensee and he takes risk of place as he finds it.

Licensee Definition

1986 Pearson v. Canada Contr’g Co., 232 Va. 177, 349 S.E.2d 106.

Licensee is one who enters for his own convenience or benefit with knowledge and consent, expressed or implied of owner or occupier. Owners’ silent acquiescence in repeated use made trespassers into licensees. Duty owed to licensee is set forth in footnote 6.

1965 Bradshaw v. Minter, 206 Va. 450, 143 S.E.2d 827.

Social guest is licensee.

1950 Wray v. Norfolk & W.R.R., 191 Va. 212, 61 S.E.2d 65.

Pedestrians using defendant’s crossing without objection by defendant were licensees.

1944 Baecher v. McFarland, 183 Va. 1, 31 S.E.2d 279.

Referring to earlier case court stated that where child has no business at point of accident and was in direct disobedience of parents’ orders or without consent of owner, they were held to be trespassers or at best bare licensees.

1943 Norfolk S. Ry. v. Wood, 182 Va. 30, 28 S.E.2d 15.

Plaintiff struck by train on trestle. Trestle was in common use as walkway. Plaintiff held to be licensee. Duty of railroad in this case was to use ordinary care to look out for persons using trestle.

Duty Owed to Licensee

See Va. Code § 29.1-509 as to duty of care and liability for damages of landowners to certain persons coming on land.

1986 Pearson v. Canada Contr’g Co., 232 Va. 177, 349 S.E.2d 106.

Occupier is liable to licensee for injuries caused by condition of premises if he knows or should know of condition, should realize condition carries unreasonable risk of harm to licensee, should expect licensee will not discover danger, and fails to use reasonable care to make condition safe or warn of danger, provided licensee does not know or have reason to know of condition and risk. In this case, Court held that where owner or occupier knows or has reason to know of dangerous condition and knows or has reason to know of presence on premises of officially privileged person whom owner or occupier knows or has reason to know is unaware of danger, he owes duty to use reasonable care to make condition safe or to warn that person of danger. Further, owner or occupier may be liable to firemen or policemen injured as result of violation of statutory duty created for express benefit of such persons. Court expressly limits this holding to cases involving injuries occurring as result of conditions on areas of premises not open to public, reserving decision on issue whether greater degree of care is owed to firemen and policemen injured in public areas where occupier may owe duty to invitees to keep premises safe.

1974 Reagan v. Perez, 215 Va. 325, 209 S.E.2d 901.

Plaintiff was social guest or licensee on premises of defendant. Chimney fell on plaintiff who was swinging in hammock attached to chimney. Landowner is liable to social guest only for willful or wanton injury, with certain exceptions: (1) where social guest is injured by active or affirmative negligence of landowner; and (2) where social guest unaware of any danger, is injured when landowner knows or has reason to know of condition on his premises; should realize that it involves unreasonable risk of harm to guest; should expect that guest will not discover or realize danger; and fails to exercise reasonable care to make condition safe or fails to warn of condition and risk involved. Not error to strike plaintiff’s evidence.

1966 Busch v. Gaglio, 207 Va. 343, 150 S.E.2d 110.

Social guest is mere licensee; under general rule, so far as injury caused by condition of premises, host is liable only for willful or wanton injury. But where host is guilty of active conduct that causes injury to guest, host may be liable for failure to exercise ordinary care to protect one whose presence on premises is known or ought to be known. Plaintiff injured on protruding rusty iron pipe with jagged edge that defendant had driven into ground close to the driveway to keep cars off lawn.

1965 Bradshaw v. Minter, 206 Va. 450, 143 S.E.2d 827.

Social guest thrown from horse. Host owes no duty of inspection and affirmative care to make premises safe for visit. Owner is only liable for willful and wanton injury resulting from condition of premises. However, where guest is injured by reason of actions of host, which may constitute active or affirmative negligence, then test is one of reasonable care.

1965 Limberg v. Lent, 206 Va. 425, 143 S.E.2d 872.

Where guest is injured as result of activities of his host, then standard of care is ordinary care.

1950 Tiller v. Norfolk & W. Ry., 190 Va. 605, 58 S.E.2d 45.

Duty owed bare licensee or trespasser is duty not to wantonly or willfully injure after discovering his presence. If railroad employees knew or should have known of danger to licensee or trespasser then they must exercise ordinary care to avoid injury.

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Licensee Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Lawyer

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