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guest

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)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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