Key point: Church members injured on church premises are not necessarily entitled to money damages, even if the injury was due to the church's failure to comply with a safety code.
A Minnesota appeals court concluded that a church was not responsible for injuries sustained by a member who tripped on a dark stairway. A member left a Sunday morning worship service to use the restroom, which was located in the church basement. To reach the restroom, the member had to go the church basement, cross the fellowship hall, ascend three uneven stairs, and walk down a hall. When the member went to the basement, the lights were on and she had no difficulty reaching the restroom. However, when she left the restroom, all the basement lights were off and the basement was completely dark. The member attempted to find her way back upstairs. Although there was a light switch in the hall leading to the restroom, the member could not find it because of the darkness. When she reached the three uneven stairs that led to the fellowship hall, she tripped and sustained serious injuries.