( 191. J
MANDY v. GALLE FACE HOTELS Co.
C. R., Colombo, 7,179.
Quest at a hotel—Liability of hotel-keeper for loss of property left at the hotelby guest—Notice of hotel-keeper to guests.
In an action for recovery of the value of portions of a bicycle left ina hotel by a guest who came in for refreshments, held, that in such acase there was no distinction to be drawn between guests who livethere and other guests; that a notice to guests that “ no responsibilityshall attach to the hotel for any property lost, unless previously placedin the manager’s charge for safe custody,” would not limit hisresponsibility; and that the hotel-keeper was liable for the value of thearticles lost.
HE facts of this case are these:—On the 21st day of May,1898, plaintiff went on his bicycle to the Galle Face Hotel,
which belongs to the defendant company, for the purpose ofusing the swimming bath provided by it for the use of the publicfor hire and for the purpose of having so? e refreshments. Heleft his bicycle on the stand in the company’s premises in a placeset apart for bicycles under the company’s exclusive control.
1899.March 9and 24.
( 102 )
There was a lamp and inflator, tool bag, &c., attached to thebicycle. After bath and refreshments he returned to the bicyclestand and found the bicycle there, but the lamp, inflator, bag, &c.,had disappeared.
The value of the missing articles was Bs. 29.30, and thedefendant company refused to pay the value of the articles loston the ground that copies of a certain notice were hung up inseveral parts of the (hotel in conspicuous places, including one inthe swimming bath, one at the entrance of the hotel, and one ineach of the main corridors.
One of the clauses in the notice ran as follows:—“ No rsspon-“ sibility shall attach to the hotel for any property lost, unless“ previously placed in the manager’s charge for safe custody.”
Plaintiff now came into Court claiming the value of the goods.
The defendant company denied that the bicycle stand was underits exclusive control, and pleaded the aforesaid notice in avoidanceof all responsibility for the loss of the articles mentioned.
The Commissioner, after hearing evidence, gave judgment forplaintiff.
The defendant company appealed.
Domhorst, for appellant.—Plaintiff did not sleep in the hotel,but only casually visited it for the purpose of a bath. Innkeepers•are not liable for everything brought into their premises by suchvisitors. Plaintiff left the bicycle and the articles in question in-a verandah next to the billiard room. That was a public stand,lb is proved that the defendants have provided a special room forbicycles, and that plaintiff did not put his bicycle there. Duenotice was posted up in many parts of the hotel that the pro-prietors will not be responsible for any property lost unlesspreviously placed in the manager’s charge. Innkeepers are' free toenter into an express or implied contract as regards their liabilityfor goods brought into the inn, notwithstanding 26 & 27 Viet,ch. 41. It was plaintiff’s own fault that he left the articles inquestion in such an insecure place.
De Vos, for respondent.—No distinction can be drawn betweenguests who live at an inn and other visitors. As soon as an inn-keeper receives a person into his inn such a person becomes hisguest, and the innkeeper’s benefit continues so long as he derivesany benefit from such visitor or his property (York v. Grindstone,1 Salk. 388). Defendant company was benefited by plaintiff’s visit,It is proved that, though notices were placed here and there asregards the responsibility of the company for loss of articles, yetthe plaintiff did not see any himself. Even if he saw such
notices, they could not hold the defendant company any the lessresponsible. Innkeepers cannot evade responsibility by suchmethods unless the visitor was grossly careless (Orchard v.Burk, 46 W. B. 527).
Cur adv. vult.
24th March, 1899. Lawrie, A.C.J.—
In the Court below the company treated the plaintiff as theirguest, and as such sought to bind him by a notice to guestswhich contained a clause: “ No responsibility shall attach to the“ hotel for any property unless previously placed in the manager’s“ charge for safe custody.” It was not proved that the plaintiffBaw or read this notice. There was no special contract betweenthe plaintiff and the company which relieves the latter of itscommon law liability.
In the Case of ordinary guests who saw and read the notice, thehotel could not (in my opinion), by the notice, relieve itself of-responsibility for articles which could not reasonably be left inthe manager's charge. A guest cannot be expected to put in the.manager’s charge his hat and umbrella, his every day clothing,his dressing things, &e., for these are constantly needed. Whena guest brings a bicycle to a hotel it is for daily use, and it wouldbe ridiculous to insist that the bicycle must bes locked up in amanager’s room.
I am of opinion that the notice in question did not limit theresponsibility of the hotel for the loss of parts of the bicyclebelonging to the plaintiff, if he was a guest of the hotel and hadread the notice.
On the plea urged in appeal, that the plaintiff was not a guest,I hold that the defendant company was a host and the plaintiffwas a guest.
It is not necessary that a guest should sleep at an inn to makethe innkeeper liable. In the old days of posting, travellersstopping at an inn for a few hours by day were equally entitledto the protection afforded by the law as those who stayed m theinn for the night.
In the Galle Face Hotel are many extra attractions for visitors,a swimming bath, billiard rooms, and a bar. In my opinion theseare parts of the hotel, and persons using these parts are as entitledto the protection of the law regarding innkeepers as those wholive in the hotel and use the bedrooms and dining room.
I affirm the judgment of the Court below.
xo—RR 19790 (12/68)
MANDY v. GALLE FACE HOTELS Co.