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§ 3. Liability for acts of servants. An innkeeper is responsible for the acts of his domestics and servants, as well as for the acts of his other guests, if goods of a guest are stolen or lost (Coykendall v. Eaton, 55 Barb. [N. Y.] 188; Shaw v. Berry, 31 Me. 478; Piper v. Manny, 21 Wend. 282; Lasseen v. Clark, 37 Ga. 242; Day v. Bather, 2 Hurl. & Colt. 14; Rockwell v. Proctor, 39 Ga. 105; Treiber v. Burrows, 27 Md. 130; 21 id. 320); and it has been held that he is responsible for a tort or injury done by his servants to the person of his guest, without his own co-operation or consent. Wade v. Thayer, 40 Cal. 578.
§ 4. What excuses liability. The innkeeper may exonerate himself from any liability for loss of goods by his guests, by showing that it was by no fault or neglect of himself or his servants, or of any other guest, that the loss occurred. Dessauer v. Baker, 1 Wilson (Ind.), 429 ; Vance v. Throckmorton, 5 Bush (Ky.), 41. But see Hulett v. Swift, 33 N. Y. (6 Tiff.) 571; Shaw v. Berry, 31 Me. (1 Red.) 478. And he may be exonerated by showing that the guest had taken upon himself exclusively the custody of his own goods, or had by his own neglect exposed them to the peril. Vance v. Throckmorton, 5 Bush (Ky.), 41; Burgess v. Clements, 4 M. & S. 306. An innkeeper is only prima facie liable for loss or damage to goods of his guest, while in his possession; and he may exculpate himself by proof that the loss did not happen through any neglect or fault on his part, or that of his servants for whom he is responsible. Laird v. Eichold, 10 Ind. 212. But the burden of proof is upon him. Norcross v. Norcross, 53 Me. 163. In respect to property brought to an inn by a guest for the purpose of carrying on any trade or business, the innkeeper is relieved from the special liability of the common law. Myers v. Cottrill, 5 Biss. 465; Mowers v. Fethers, 61 N. Y. (16 Sick.) 34; 19 Am. Rep. 244
An innkeeper is exempt from liability for the loss of his guest's goods, when the loss is occasioned by the act of God, or of the public enemy, or through the fault of the owner, and without negligence of the innkeeper himself, or his servants. Hulett v. Swift, 42 Barb. (N. Y.) 230; S. C., 33 N. Y. (6 Tiff.) 571; Sibley v. Aldrich, 33 N. H. 553; Merritt v. Claghorn, 23 Vt. 177; Thickstun v. Howard, 8 Blackf. 535. In the case of Hulett v. Swift, supra, the court of appeals held that the innkeeper is responsible for the loss of the goods of his guest by fire, the cause of the fire being unknown, and the guest being free from negligence. But see Laws of N. Y. 1866, ch. 638; Faucett v. Nichols, 64 N. Y. (19 Sick.) 377, 380. In case of a loss of the goods intrusted to the innkeeper by his guests, there is a presumption of a want of proper diligence by the landlord. Sasseen v. Clark, 37 Ga. 242; Johnson v. Richardson, 17 Ill. 302; Hill v. Owen, 5 Blackf. 323.
§ 5. Contributory negligence on the part of the guest. Whether the guest has by his negligence contributed to produce the loss, is always a question for the jury. Read v. Amidon, 41 Vt. 15; Cashill v. Wright, 37 Eng. Law & Eq. 175. Primarily the innkeeper is responsible for the loss, and he must show contributory negligence on the part of the guest. Fowler v. Dorlon, 24 Barb. (N. Y.) 384; Johnson v. Richardson, 17 Ill. 302. Want of ordinary care on the part of the guest, in the care or management of the property, contributing to the loss, will exonerate the innkeeper from his liability. Chamberlain v. Masterson, 26 Ala. 371; Hadley v. Upshaw, 27 Tex. 547; Profilet v. Hall, 14 La. Ann. 524.
A guest at a hotel who hands his pocket-book to the clerk for safekeeping is not guilty of negligence in not informing the clerk that there is money in the pocket-book (Shoecraft v. Bailey, 25 Iowa, 553); but if he carries a large sum of money in his valise and conceals the fact from the innkeeper, and allows the valise to be treated as mere luggage, he is guilty of gross negligence. Fowler v. Dorlon, 24 Barb. (N. Y.) 384; Treiber v. Burrows, 27 Md. 130; 21 id. 320.
A guest at an inn is not bound to keep his room locked at all times, to entitle him to recover for a robbery (Buddenburg v. Benner, 1 Hilt. [N. Y.] 84); and although the guest is provided with the key to his room on retiring for the night, and does not lock the door, yet, if his watch is stolen, the innkeeper is liable for the loss. Classen v. Leopold, 2 Sweeny (N. Y.), 705. But if a guest is guilty of gross negligence, as where he opens his driving box and counts his money in the commercial rooms, in the presence of other persons, and the box is then insecurely fastened, the innkeeper is relieved from his liability. Armistead v. White, 6 Eng. Law & Eq. 349. See Oppenheim v. The White Lion Hotel Co., L. R., & C. P. 514.
§ 6. Liability in case of gratuitous guest. It seems that if an innkeeper entertains a traveler gratuitously, he will not be liable to him as a guest for all losses and damages, in the same manner as if he received a compensation. Thompson v. Lacy, 3 B. & Ald. 283.
DUTIES AND LIABILITIES UNDER STATUTES.
Section 1. Necessity of license. At common law any person may keep an inn for the public accommodation without a license, as the keeping of it is not a franchise, but a lawful trade, open to every citiOverseers, etc., of Crown Point v. Warner, 3 Hill (N. Y.), 150;
Norcross v. Norcross, 53 Me. 163. And in New York any person may now keep an inn or tavern, and may now erect and maintain a sign, indicating that he keeps an inn, tavern or hotel, without having a license of any kind unless the sale of intoxicating liquors is made a part of the business. People v. Murphy, 5 Park. (N. Y.) 130. See, too, Curtis v. State, 5 Ham. 324.
A license, to one man to keep a tavern at his house in a village, will not authorize another, who has formed a partnership with him for the sale of spirituous liquors, to sell liquors at a house on the same lot, and within the same inclosure with the tavern. Hall's case, 8 Gratt. 588; Commonwealth v. Estaboork, 10 Pick. (Mass.) 293.
§ 2. Notice to guest as affecting liability of innkeeper. At common law, the negligence of the guest in the care of his goods generally exempts the landlord from liability for their loss. And in New York, under the provisions of the act regulating the liability of hotel keepers (chap. 42, Laws of 1855) which provide that where the proprietor of any hotel provides a safe for money, jewels or ornaments of guests, and shall post a notice stating the fact, in the rooms, if the guest shall neglect to deposit, the proprietor shall not be liable for losses, etc.; the statutory exemption applies to all moneys, jewels and ornaments, and applies to every case where the guest has the time and opportunity to make the deposit, however inconvenient and troublesome it may be to do so. And he must even deposit his personal jewelry and pocket-money or, as to it, the innkeeper has the protection of the statute. The guest need not be guilty of actual negligence. To neglect does not generally imply carelessness or imprudence, but simply an omission to do, or to perform some work, duty or act. Rosenplaenter v. Roessle, 54 N. Y. (9 Sick.) 262.
The statute does not relieve the innkeeper of his common law liability for articles not expressly mentioned, such as a watch and chain. Ramaley v. Leland, 43 N. Y. (4 Hand) 539; Maltby v. Chapman, 25 Md. 310; Weisenger v. Taylor, 1 Bush (Ky.), 275; Pope v. Hall, 14 La. Ann. 324. But see Hyatt v. Taylor, 42 N. Y. (3 Hand) 259; and Stewart v. Parsons, 24 Wis. 241.
When the guest offers to the book-keeper a large package of valuables, without stating its contents and requests him to deposit it in the safe, and the clerk responds that the package will be safe in his own. room, whereupon the guest takes it to his room, it is on the part of the guest a neglect to deposit within the statute (Bendetson v. French, 46 N. Y. [1 Sick.] 266); but if the package was stolen after the guest had packed his trunk for his departure, and had ordered the trunk to be brought down from his room, then the innkeeper would be liable,
even if the package had never been handed to him or his agents to be deposited in the safe. Id.
Whether a package contains an amount of money sufficient to pay necessary traveling expenses of the guest, or a sum greatly exceeding such expenses, if the guest offers the same for deposit, describing it only as "money," yet the innkeeper is liable in the whole amount, if the package be lost. Wilkins v. Earle, 44 N. Y. (5 Hand) 172.
If an innkeeper by his negligence facilitates the setting fire to his inn, or its appurtenances, the statute of 1866 does not protect him from his common law liability for the loss by fire of his guest's goods. Faucett v. Nichols, 64 N. Y. (19 Sick.) 377; reversing S. C., 4 T. & C. (N. Y.) 597; and 2 Hun (N. Y.), 521.
RIGHTS AND POWERS OF INNKEEPERS.
Section 1. In general. An innkeeper has a lien upon the goods of his guest for his board and lodging, and for the liquors supplied to him (Grinnell v. Cook, 3 Hill, 485; Jones v. Thurloe, 8 Mod. 172), and he is not bound to examine into the nature and extent of the goods ordered by his guest, or the propriety of supplying him with his just wants, provided the guest is possessed of reason, and is not a minor, and the innkeeper is not guilty of fraud or imposition (Proctor v. Nicholson, 7 C. & P. 67), and he may refuse to receive and to entertain one who is not capable of paying a compensation suitable to the accommodation provided (Thompson v. Lacy, 3 B. & Ald. 283), and he may expel one who is noisy and turbulent, although he has been received as a guest. Howell v. Jackson, 6 C. & P. 723. And it seems where horses are left at an inn to be kept, the innkeeper, as such, has a right to detain them for their keeping, although the one who brought them there is not a guest. Mason v. Thompson, 9 Pick. (Mass.) 280; Peet v. McGraw, 25 Wend. 653.
§ 2. Right to compensation. That an innkeeper has a right to be reasonably compensated for the accommodation and entertainment furnished by him to his guests is a principle of law too well settled to need comment, or the citation of authorities. The next section shows the manner of securing this compensation to be promptly and fully paid. And although an innkeeper may claim a lien on his guest's goods for an amount in excess of his reasonable charges, yet the lien is good for the amount that is justly his due. Allen v. Smith, 12 C. B. (N. S.) 638.
§ 3. Lien for charges. An innkeeper has a lien for the amount of his reasonable charges on the goods of his guest, but not on the goods of his boarder. Pollock v. Landis, 36 Iowa, 651; Willard v. Reinhardt, 2 E. D. Smith (N. Y.), 148; Ewart v. Stark, 8 Rich. (S. C.) 423; Hursh v. Byers, 29 Mo. 469. And see Welch v. Pullman Palace Car Co., 16 Abb. N. S. (N. Y.) 352, 357. And if he furnish in good faith entertainment to an infant without knowledge that the infant was acting without the consent of his guardian, he has a lien on the infant's baggage for the amount of his charges. Watson v. Cross, 2 Duvall (Ky.), 147. IIe has a lien for the entertainment of the servant, upon such property of the master as the servant brings with him to the inn. Smith v. Keyes, 2 N. Y. Sup. (T. & C.) 650. But where several persons travel together and put up together at an inn, the goods of one cannot be detained for the board of all. Clayton v. Butterfield, 10
Rich. Law (S. C.), 300.
An innkeeper cannot enforce his lien upon the baggage of his guest by sale without process of law. Case v. Fogg, 46 Mo. 44. And it has been held that an innkeeper's lien and his liability stand and fall together. Ingalsbee v. Wood, 36 Barb. (N. Y.) 452.
An innkeeper has no lien on the person of his guest, and cannot therefore detain him for any reckoning due. Still less has he any right to take any clothes off the person of his guest as a security for the same (Sunbolf v. Alford, 3 M. & W. 284; S. C., 1 H. & H. 13. See Bumpus v. Maynard, 38 Barb. 626); nor has he a lien for his keeping on a horse in his stable, unless he is placed there by a guest. Binns v. Pigot, 9 C. & P. 298; Fox v. McGregor, 11 Barb. 41; Young v. Kimball, 23 Penn. St. 193. And he has no lien as against the true owner, upon goods in possession of his guest, which are owned by a third party, unless there be charges on the specific article upon which the lien is claimed. Domestic Sewing Machine Co. v. Watters, 50 Ga. 573. In Wisconsin he has a lien even on the goods of a third party which are lawfully in the guest's possession. Manning v. Hollenbeck, 27 Wis. 202. See, also, Snead v. Watkins, 1 C. B. (N. S.) 267. If the guest is a mail contractor, who has stables and feed furnished for his horses which carry the mail, the innkeeper has no lien upon the horses if they are daily used in running the stages while carrying the mails. Hickman v. Thomas, 16 Ala. 666.
4. Power to restrict liability by notice. The liability of an innkeeper is not affected by merely posting in the guest's room a notice declaring his liability to be limited by the non-observance of certain directions. Bodwell v. Bragg, 29 Iowa, 232; Maltby v. Chapman, 25 Md. 310. But if a guest deposit an overcoat and the contents of his