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n. 1) in general, a person paying to stay in hotel, motel or inn for a short time. 2) a person staying at another's residence without charge, called a "social guest." An important distinction is that a non-paying guest is not owed the duty of providing a safe boarding space, as is a paying customer. Thus if a social guest trips on a slippery rug, he/she has no right to sue for negligence, but a paying guest might. 3) an "automobile" guest is one who is a passenger without paying, as distinguished from a taxi fare, bus rider or one who has paid a friend to drive. However, the so-called "guest statute" may give a non-paying passenger the right to sue. An automobile guest is somewhat (but not entirely) analogous to the "social guest" in a residence. (See: guest statute, invitee)
GUEST. A traveller who stays at an inn or tavern-with the consent of the
keeper: Bac. Ab. Inns, C 5; 8 Co. 32. And if, after having taken lodgings at
an inn, he leaves his horse there, and goes elsewhere to lodge, he is still
to be considered a guest. But not if he merely leaves goods for which the
landlord receives no compensation. 1 Salk. 888; 2 Lord Raym. 866; Cro. Jac.
188. The length of time a man is at an inn makes no difference, whether he
stays a day, or a week, or a month, or longer, so always, that, though not
strictly transient, he retains his character as a traveller. But if a person
comes upon a special contract to board and sojourn at an inn, he is not in
the sense of the law a guest, but a boarder. Bac. Ab. Inns, C. 5; Story,
Bailm. Sec. 477.
2. Innkeepers are generally liable for all goods belonging to the guest, brought within the inn. It is not necessary that the goods should have been in the special keeping of the innkeeper to male him liable. This rule is founded on principles of public utility, to which all private considerations ought to yield. 2 Kent, Com. 459; 1 Hayw. N. C. Rep. 40; 14 John. R. 175; Dig. 4, 9, 1. Vide 8 Barb. & Ald. 283; 4 Maule & Selw. 306; 1 Holt's N. P. 209; 1 Salk. 387; S. C. Carth. 417; 1 Bell's Com. 469 Dane's Ab. Index, h. t.; Yelv. 67, a; Smith's Leading Cases, 47; 8 Co. 32.