Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Smith v. Dunn Hospitality Group Manager, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

October 12, 2016

Brenda K. (Layman) Smith and John C. Smith, Appellants-Plaintiffs,
v.
Dunn Hospitality Group Manager, Inc. d/b/a Comfort Inn, Appellee-Defendant.

         Appeal from the Vanderburgh Circuit Court The Honorable David D. Kiely, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 82C01-1309-CT-444

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS Mark K. Phillips Boonville, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Terry G. Farmer Daniel R. Robinson, Jr. Bamberger Foreman Oswald & Hahn, LLP Evansville, Indiana

          Riley, Judge.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         [¶1] Appellants-Plaintiffs, Brenda K. (Brenda) and John C. Smith (collectively, Smiths), appeal the trial court's summary judgment in favor of Appellees-Defendants, Dunn Hospitality Group Manager, Inc. d/b/a Comfort Inn (Comfort Inn) on the Smiths' allegations of negligence pursuant to the Innkeeper Statute.

         [¶2] We affirm.

         ISSUE

         [¶3] The Smiths raise two issues on appeal, which we consolidate and restate as: Whether the Comfort Inn was negligent as a matter of law pursuant to the Innkeeper Statute, Ind. Code Ch. 32-33-7.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         [¶4] On August 7, 2012, the Smiths became guests at the Comfort Inn, located in Evansville, Indiana, following a fire in their residence. They brought certain personal property with them that had survived the fire, including an insurance draft, a coin collection, and sports memorabilia. On August 8, 2012, the Smiths delivered the insurance draft to the management of the Comfort Inn for storage in the safety deposit box. On August 18, 2012, the Smiths were arrested and taken into custody for approximately two weeks before making bail. While the Smiths were in custody, their room rental was paid and their occupancy was not terminated.

         [¶5] During the Smiths' incarceration, employees of the Comfort Inn allowed Daniel Crawley (Crawley) access to the Smiths' room. The Smiths had not given any permission to the Comfort Inn to let Crawley enter their room. After gaining access to the room, Crawley took all of the Smiths' personal possessions. Subsequent to allowing Crawley to access the Smiths' room, the Comfort Inn handed the contents of the safety deposit box to Luke Warren (Warren). Warren was not authorized by the Smiths to receive these contents, which included the insurance draft. The Smiths later recovered the insurance draft from Warren.

         [¶6] On September 9, 2013, the Smiths filed a Complaint alleging negligence by the Comfort Inn for allowing Crawley to access their room and remove their personal belongings. On January 14, 2015, the Comfort Inn filed its motion for summary judgment, alleging that there was no genuine issue of material fact that its "maximum liability, if any, to the [Smiths] [is] capped at one hundred dollars, " pursuant to I.C. Ch. 32-22-7. In their response in opposition to the Comfort Inn's motion, the Smiths claimed that the statute was not applicable as the Comfort Inn's act was a criminal act and it had failed to protect the Smiths from the intentional tort of the third party. On March 31, 2015, the Comfort Inn filed a motion to strike the affidavits of Brenda and Robert Phillips, which was subsequently granted by the trial court.

         [¶7] On August 25, 2015, the trial court conducted a hearing on the Comfort Inn's motion for summary judgment. On September 2, 2015, the trial court issued its "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.