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Ladders, Licensees, and Liability

Key point 7-20.1. In most states, whether a church is liable for injuries occurring on its premises will depend on whether the victim is an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. Churches, like any property owner, owe the highest degree of care to invitees, a lesser degree of care to licensees, and a very minimal degree of care to trespassers. As a result, it is more likely that churches will be liable for injuries to persons who meet the definition of an "invitee."

A Michigan court ruled that a church was not responsible for injuries sustained by a member of its board of trustees when he fell from a ladder while performing volunteer service for the church. A church member (the "plaintiff") also served as a volunteer on the church's board of trustees, a group of individuals who volunteered to perform various repairs and maintenance on the church premises. The plaintiff never received or expected ...

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  • August 19, 2015