Gladon v. Greater Cleveland Reg'l Transit Auth.

1996-Ohio-137, 75 Ohio St. 3d 312, 662 N.E.2d 287



In Ohio, the status of the person who enters upon the land of another, i.e., trespasser, licensee, or invitee, defines the scope of the legal duty that the landowner owes the entrant. Invitees are persons who rightfully come upon the premises of another by invitation, express or implied, for some purpose which is beneficial to the owner.


The claimant, who was lying on the railroad tracks after an alleged assault, was struck by a train, resulting in his severe, permanent injury. The claimant filed an action against the authority, alleging that the operator was negligent by failing to bring the train to a stop after the point she perceived or should have perceived the claimant's peril prior to striking him. 


Was the plaintiff considered to be a trespasser at the time of he incurred the injury?




In the present case, Gladon was an invitee when he purchased an RTA ticket, rode the rapid transit train and waited at RTA's platform. However, RTA's invitation to Gladon to use their premises did not extend to the area on or near the tracks. In fact, Gladon acknowledged that RTA did not permit the public in the area on or near the tracks. Even though his entry may have been unintentional and against Gladon's wishes, once on the tracks, Gladon exceeded the scope of his invitation and lost his status as an invitee. Because Gladon then became either a licensee or a trespasser for purposes of determining the duty RTA owed to him, the trial court erred in instructing the jury that he was an invitee as a matter of law.

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