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Law School Case Brief

Mitchell v. Archibald & Kendall, Inc. - 573 F.2d 429 (7th Cir. 1978)

Rule:

In reviewing the grant of a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim, it is elementary that all material facts well pleaded in the complaint must be taken as true. However, the court is required to accept only well-pleaded facts as true in deciding whether the motion to dismiss was properly granted and is not required to accept legal conclusions that may be alleged or that may be drawn from the pleaded facts.

Facts:

Plaintiffs, husband and wife drivers, drove a truckload of defendant company's products to defendant's warehouse. While waiting on a side road to unload their cargo, plaintiff husband was shot by a robber. Plaintiffs brought a negligence action against defendant, alleging that defendant breached its duty to protect plaintiffs, as invitees, against criminal attacks that took place beyond the boundaries of its premises and on a public street. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

Issue:

Did the owner of the land owe a duty of reasonably protecting an invitee against criminal acts that take place beyond the boundaries of his premises?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The court affirmed, holding that the district court properly dismissed the complaint because it found that the criminal act occurred on a public street instead of on defendant's premises and plaintiffs did not present an issue of fact to the district court challenging the issue of whether the crime took place on defendant's premises. The court also held that defendant did not have a duty to plaintiffs to guard against the criminal acts of third parties because plaintiffs ceased to be invitees when they left defendant's premises.

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