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Davies v. McDowell Nat'l Bank - 407 Pa. 209, 180 A.2d 21 (1962)

Rule:

Social guests are gratuitous licensees. To this class, the owner of a premises is liable for bodily harm caused by a latent dangerous condition existing thereon only if he has knowledge of the condition and fails to give warning thereof, realizing that it involves an unreasonable risk to his guests and that they are not likely to discover its existence.

Facts:

The husband and his wife visited the business office of the wife's stepfather. A carbon monoxide leak in the office poisoned the couple and the stepfather resulting in the deaths of both the wife and stepfather and serious injuries to the husband. Actions for damages on behalf of the husband and the wife's estate were brought against the stepfather's estate.

Issue:

Is a social guest's claim for damages sustainable where the premises owner's death due to the defect showed he was unaware of the defect?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

There is no sufficient proof showing that the stepfather had knowledge of the dangerous condition on which the cause was based. They were guests, and the only entitlement they have was of warnings about the latent condition.

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