Property owners owe a duty to guests to ensure they are not confronted with unreasonable risks and hazards that may jeopardize their safety. Depending on the role of the guest (i.e., a social visitor, a business invitee or a trespasser), the duty of care owed by the property owner will vary.
Recently, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court – the highest in the state – handed down a ruling on a premises liability lawsuit that underscores the importance of expert witness testimony in some of these cases.
The case of Estate of Smith v. Salvesen is a tragic one. Plaintiff and his wife were in town as guests at a reception held at a local college for which they were benefactors. The pair stayed at a local inn. They were told their suite was on the second floor, but they did not realize it was actually a two-story suit, equipped with stairs in the bedroom that led to the lower level. Continue reading