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OF INNKEEPERS GENERALLY.
DEFINITION AND NATURE.
Section 1. Definition. One who keeps a common inn for the lodging and entertainment of travelers and passengers, their horses and attendants, for a reasonable compensation, is an innkeeper. Story on Bailm., § 475; Cromwell v. Stephens, 2 Daly, 15; 3 Abb. (N. S.) 26. It is not necessary that he should put up a sign as keeper of an inn. Parker v. Flint, 12 Mod. 254; Overseers, etc., of Crown Point v. Warner, 3 Hill (N. Y.), 150; Dickerson v. Rogers, 4 Humph. (Tenn.) 179. unless required by statute, as by Laws N. Y. 1857, ch. 628, § 9; 2 R. S. 936, § 15, Banks' ed. He is one who receives as guests all who choose to visit his house without any previous agreement as to the time or the terms of their stay. Wintermute v. Clarke, 5 Sandf. (N. Y.) 242. But one who entertains strangers occasionally, although he may receive compensation for it, is not an innkeeper. Lyon v. Smith, Morris (Iowa), 184; Bouv. Law Dict. 714. Nor is one who keeps an inn merely for a short season of the year, and for select persons who are lodgers. Story on Bailm., § 475.
An inn has been defined to be a house where the traveler is furnished with every thing for which he has occasion whilst on his way. Thompson v. Lacy, 3 B. & Ald. 283; Holder v. Soulby, 8 J. Scott (N. S.), 254.
§ 2. Who are innkeepers. The owner of a house of public entertainment, e. g., a tavern and a coffee house, where lodging and entertainment were provided for travelers and others indiscriminately, but which were not frequented by stage coaches and wagons, and had no stable belonging to them, was considered subject to the liabilities of an innkeeper, even where the guest did not appear to have been a traveler, but one who had previously resided in ready furnished lodgings. VOL. IV.-1
Thompson v. Lacy, 3 B. & Ald. 283. But the keeper of a mere coffee house is not an innkeeper (Doe v. Laming, 4 Camp. 74); nor is one who keeps a mere private boarding-house or lodging-house (Southwood v. Myers, 3 Bush [Ey.], 681); nor is the keeper of a restaurant. Carpenter v. Taylor, 1. Hilt. (N. Y.) 193; People v. Jones, 54 Barb.
The proprietor of a public house, designated as a "hotel," where all comers register their names and are furnished with rooms without special agreement, and where meals are furnished on the "European plan," is air innkeeper with all the responsibilities of such a character in respect to the guests who lodge in his house. Krohn v. Sweeney, 2 Daly (N. Y.), 200. And one who, without license, entertains a circus troupe and occasionally transient guests, presumes, under the Massachusetts statute, to be an innkeeper, although he keeps no stable and part of his house is used as a grocery. Commonwealth v. Wetherbee, 101 Mass. 214. Where a company is the proprietor of an inn, although the justice's license is in the name of a paid manager, yet an action for the loss of a guest's goods cannot be maintained against such manager. The company is the real "innkeeper." Dixon v. Birch, L. R., 8 Exch. 135; 5 Eng. R. 330.
3. Who are guests. It is sometimes difficult to define what constitutes the relationship of innkeeper and guest. Ingalsbee v. Wood, 36 Barb. (N. Y.) 452. It makes no difference how long a man remains at an inn, whether his stay be of days', weeks' or months' duration, 80 long as he retains his character as a traveler, he is a guest. Smith v. Keyes, 2 N. Y. Sup. (T. & C.) 650; Shoecraft v. Bailey, 25 Iowa, 553; Norcross v. Norcross, 53 Me. 163; Jalie v. Cardinal, 35 Wis. 118. A townsman or a neighbor may be a traveler, and therefore a guest at an inn, as well as he who comes from a distance, or from a foreign country. Walling v. Potter, 35 Conn. 183. A lumberman who stays at a hotel two or three days, and then, stating that he should be there frequently during the summer, procures a deduction of onehalf from the regular rate, is a guest and not a regular boarder. Shoecraft v. Bailey, 25 Iowa, 553. A guest is a wayfarer who stops at an inn, and is accepted. Manning v. Wells, 9 Humph. 746.
In order to constitute one a guest at an inn, it is not necessary to be
there in person; it is sufficient if his property be there in charge of his wife, servant or other member of his family. Coykendall v. Eaton, 55 Barb. (N. Y.) 188; S. C., 37 How. (N. Y.) 438; Piper v. Manny, 21 Wend. 282. If a person puts up his horse at an inn it makes him a guest, and the relation extends to all his goods left at the inn, by his taking a room, and by his taking some of his meals at the inn and
lodging there a portion of the time. McDaniels v. Robinson, 26 Vt. 316; Washburn v. Jones, 14 Barb. (N. Y.) 193. But if an innkeeper agrees to keep a stallion for two days in a week during the season, and to furnish feed and a specified box-stall in his stable, and to board the man in charge of the horse at less than the usual price to guests, and the horse is burned to death by a fire which consumed the stable, the innkeeper is not liable, as the relation of guest and innkeeper does not exist. Mowers v. Fethers, 61 N. Y. (16 Sick.) 34; 19 Am. Rep. 244. Where a fire company gives a ball, at an inn, where rooms for dancing, dressing, and supper are furnished by an innkeeper who is paid therefor by the company, which sells tickets for the ball to parties who desire them, at a specified price, and the clothing of a person purchasing a ticket and attending the ball is stolen, the innkeeper is not liable, as such person is not his guest. Carter v. Hobbs, 12 Mich. 52. Purchasing liquor at an inn is sufficient to constitute the buyer a guest. McDonald v. Edgerton, 5 Barb. 560.
§4. Distinction between innkeepers and boarding-housekeepers. One who keeps a house principally for the accommodation of emigrants is not a boarding-housekeeper; he is an innkeeper. The great distinction between a boarding-house and an inn is that in a boarding-house the guest is under an express contract, at a certain rate, for a certain period of time; but in an inn there is no express agreement. The guest being on his way is entertained from day to day, according to his business, upon an implied contract. Willard v. Reinhardt, 2 E. D. Smith (N. Y.), 148; Shoecraft v. Bailey, 25 Iowa, 553; Chamberlain v. Masterson, 26 Ala. 371.
An inn is distinguished from a private boarding-house mainly in this, that the keeper of the latter is at liberty to choose his guests, while the innkeeper is obliged to entertain and furnish all travelers of good conduct and means of payment with what they have occasion for whilst on their way. Pinkerton v. Woodward, 33 Cal. 557.
A hotel keeper is subject to the same liabilities as an innkeeper. Jones v. Osborn, 2 Chit. 484; Chamberlain v. Masterson, 26 Ala. 371.
DUTIES AND LIABILITIES AT COMMON LAW.
Section 1. Duty to receive and to entertain guests. An innkeeper is bound to take in and to receive all travelers and wayfaring persons, and to entertain them for a reasonable compensation, if he can accommodate them. Thompson v. Lacy, 3 B. & A. 283; Grin
nell v. Cook, 3 Hill (N. Y.), 485; Hawthorn v. Hammond, 1 C. & K. 404. Where a guest has engaged and paid for a night's lodging, and the innkeeper refuses to let him have it, and then turns the guest out of the inn with abusive and insulting language, he is liable for exemplary damages. M'Carthy v. Niskern, 22 Minn. 90. A guest is not entitled to select particular apartments, nor to occupy a bedroom for the purpose of sitting up all night, so long as the innkeeper is willing and offers to furnish him with a proper room for that purpose. Fell v. Knight, 8 M. & W. 269; 5 Jur. 554.
If an innkeeper improperly refuses to receive or to provide for a guest, he is liable to be indicted therefor. Rex v. Ivens, 7 C. & P. 213. But, he may not only refuse to receive a guest who conducts himself in a disorderly and noisy manner; he may compel him, under such circumstances, to leave the inn even after he has been received as a guest. Id.; Markham v. Brown, 8 N. H. 523; Howell v. Jackson, 6 C. & P. 723; Commonwealth v. Mitchell, 2 Pars. (Penn.) Sel. Cas. 431; ante, Vol. 1, 343.
§ 2. Liability for property of guest. The liability of an innkeeper is the same in character and extent as that of a common carrier. 2 Kent's Comm. 592; Treiber v. Burrows, 27 Md. 130. And it is not limited to property of any particular kind or value; it embraces all the personal property of the guest brought to the inn. Kellogg v. Sweeney, 1 Lans. (N. Y.) 397; 46 N. Y. (1 Sick.) 291; 7 Am. Rep. 333; Pinkerton v. Woodward, 33 Cal. 557. He is responsible for money belonging to his guest. Kent v. Shuckard, 2 B. & Ad. 803; Wilkins v. Earle, 49 N. Y. (5 Hand) 172; 4 Am. Rep. 655. But this liability only extends to such goods as are brought into the inn in the character of guests. Mateer v. Brown, 1 Cal. 221. He is liable for the loss of a parcel left in the lobby or hall of the inn. Candy v. Spencer, 3 F. & F. 306; Norcross v. Norcross, 53 Me. 163. extraordinary diligence in preserving the property of his guests intrusted to his care. Gile v. Libby, 36 Barb. (N. Y.) 70; Packard v. Northcraft, 2 Metc. (Ky.) 439; Sasseen v. Clark, 37 Ga. 242. His liability continues until the guest with his property has left the premises of the inn. Seymour v. Cook, 53 Barb. (N. Y.) 451. And he is not exonerated from his liability although the guest do, with the innkeeper's assent, what it was the latter's duty to do, as where a guest, preparing to depart, leads, with the innkeeper's consent, his own horse from the stable of the inn, and in so doing while passing a stall in which a stallion, the property of another guest, is standing, his horse is injured by the kick of the stallion. Id.
And he is bound to
An innkeeper is generally liable only for the goods brought within
Calye's case, 8 Co. R. 32; 2 Kent's Comm. 592. if an innkeeper, or his servant, directs a load of the guest's goods to be deposited in a specified open, uninclosed space near the public highway and the inn, and the goods are there stolen, the innkeeper is liable. Piper v. Manny, 21 Wend. 282; Mason v. Thompson, 9 Pick. 280. It is sufficient that the goods are received into the care and keeping of the innkeeper, or infra hospitium. Id. But, if he did not request the innkeeper to take charge of his load of goods, nor put them in his care the innkeeper will not be liable, although they are stolen. Albin v. Presby, 8 N. H. 408. A delivery of the goods into his personal custody is not necessary in order to make him responsible; for although he may not know any thing of such goods, when delivered to his servant, he is bound to pay for them, if they are stolen or carried away, even by some person unknown. Clute v. Wiggins, 14 Johns. (N. Y.) 175; Trieber v. Burrows, 27 Md. 130; 21 id. 320; Sasseen v. Clark, 37 Ga. 242; Packard v. Northcraft, 2 Metc. (Ky.) 442.
If the agent of a corporation, engaged in their business, becomes the guest of an innkeeper, and while he is a guest, is robbed in the inn, of money delivered to him by his principals, to be expended in their behalf, the innkeeper is liable therefor to the corporation. Berkshire Woollen Co. v. Proctor, 7 Cush. 417; Towson v. Havre-de-Grace Bank, 6 H. & J. 47.
An innkeeper is not liable for the property of one who is a boarder for a time under a special contract (Vance v. Throckmorton, 5 Bush [Ky.], 41; Neal v. Wilcox, 4 Jones' L. 146); nor is he liable for the loss or embezzlement of his guest's money, when the latter does not deposit it on the security of the inn, but intrusts it to another guest or inmate (Houser v. Tully, 62 Penn. St. 92; 1 Am. Rep. 390. See Quinton v. Courtney, 1 Hayw. [N. C.] 40 ); nor where he retains the exclusive care and custody of his goods. Fuller v. Coats, 18 Ohio St. 343. But if a departing guest, after paying his bill, with the consent of the innkeeper, leaves his baggage in the inn, in case of loss thereof within a reasonable time, the innkeeper is liable as a depositary. Adams v. Clem, 41 Ga. 65; 5 Am. Rep. 524. So he would be liable if the guest had not paid his bill, and had departed with the intention of returning, if he left his baggage at the inn. Murray v. Clarke, 2 Daly (N. Y.), 102. If the guest who owns the goods knowingly allows another person to exercise acts of ownership over them, without informing the landlord that the goods are his, and they are carried away by such other person, the landlord is released from liability. Kelsey v. Berry, 42 Ill. 469.