Barmore v. Elmore Case Brief

Summary of Barmore v. Elmore (1980), Appellate Court of Illinois

Facts: P entered D home to discuss business of the Masonic Lodge, an organization to which both were members. D’s son, apparently in some episode of paranoia or similar, thought P had been talking about him. D’s son assaulted P with a steak knife inside the house, then followed him outside as he fled a stabbed him. P brings action in appeal of directed verdict in favor of D.

Issue: Did the D have a duty to warn the P that such the likelihood of such an attack was present? No.

P argues: There is sufficient evidence that he was an invitee at the time of the incident. He argues that the courts have held in the past that transactions of fraternal organizations have labeled him an invitee as per the facts of this case.

He further argues that as an invitee, the host has a higher level of obligation. This obligation is to keep him free from any criminal activity.

D argues: The incident was not foreseeable. Plus D was there as a social guest, a licensee, thus the P’s duty to protect him from harm is much lower.

Procedure: TC enters a directed verdict in favor of D. Appellate CT affirms.

Court Rationale: Appellate CT decides that P was a licensee…a social guest. Nonetheless, the D’s did have particular knowledge that their son had bout of mental illness 10 years ago. An attack such as this was totally unforeseeable to the D. The evidence states overwhelmingly that no such knowledge could have been foreseen.

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