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1. PAUL AND BEATRICE METZ took their 11-year-old daughter Christine on a

weekend skiing trip; they stayed at the St. Stratton ski resort. The St. Stratton
owned and maintained four ski trails and a ski lift on its property. One morning, Mr.
and Mrs. Metz were having coffee in the ski lodge while their daughter was riding
Page | 1 the ski lift to the top of the mountain.

On the way up, the car containing Christine Metz and one other skier jumped off its
cable guide and plunged 300 feet down the mountain. As a result of the fall,
Christine was permanently paralyzed from the neck down. The Metzs filed a
lawsuit against the resort. Their attorney discovered that the car’s connections to
the cable were checked once a year by a maintenance staff person unfamiliar
with the intricacies of ski cable cars. The manufacturer of the cable car
recommended weekly inspections, performed by a specially trained service
technician. The ski resort’s corporate owners maintained that all skiers assumed
risk when skiing, that the manufacturer’s recommendation was simply a
recommendation, and that their own inspection program demonstrated they
had indeed exercised reasonable care. In addition, they maintained that Christine’s
paralysis was the result of an unfortunate accident for which the cable car’s
manufacturer, not the resort, should be held responsible.

a. Did the resort exercise reasonable care?

b. Are the resort’s defenses valid ones? Why or why not?

2. THE FOX MOUNTAIN COUNTRY Club was a popular location for weddings in a
midsized town in the Philippines. In cold season, the country club offered a free
coat check service to its guests. A staff member employed by the country club
operated the coat check service. The coat checkroom was located just outside the
entrance to the club’s Crystal Ballroom. At a wedding held on June 15, Mrs. Kathy
Weldo presented her full-length sable coat to the uniformed coat check attendant at
the country club. Mrs. Weldo was given a small plastic tag with a number, which
she observed corresponded to the number on a coat hanger where her coat was
hung. Standing outside the coatroom, Mrs. Weldo had a clear view of her fur as it
hung on the coat rack. Mrs. Weldo remarked to the attendant that the coat was “very
valuable,” and that she hoped the attendant would watch over it carefully.

Upon leaving the club at 1:00 A.M., Mrs. Weldo went to the coat check area to
retrieve her coat, only to find that it was missing. When she inquired about
the coat’s location, the coat check attendant apologized profusely but could not
explain the coat’s disappearance. The attendant stated that he had left the
coatroom unattended only twice that evening, one time for a 15- minute dinner
break and the other for a 5-minute cigarette break. The door to the coatroom was
left open and unlocked during those periods, so that guests who left early could
retrieve their own coats. Mrs. Weldo returned to the club the next day to speak to
Ms. Miles, the club manager. Ms. Miles pointed to a sign prominently
displayed near the coatroom door stating, “The club is not responsible for lost or
stolen property.” She recommended that Mrs. Weldo refer the matter to her
insurance company.

a. What was the nature of the bailment relationship in this situation?

b. Did the club exercise reasonable care in the handling of Mrs. Weldo’s coat?

c. What should the club manager do in the future to avoid situations such as
3. KARI RENFROE WAS EMPLOYED as a room attendant at the Lodge Inn motel.
One day, as she came to work, she discovered an expensive leather jacket
stuffed inside a plastic shopping bag in the employee section of the parking lot.
The jacket had no ownership marks on it, and neither did the plastic bag. Kari
turned the jacket over to the manager of the motel despite the fact that there was no
Page | 2 policy in place regarding items found outside the motel. The jacket was still
unclaimed 120 days later, at which time Kari approached the manager and asked
if she could have the jacket, since she found it. The manager refused to give Kari
the jacket, stating that all unclaimed property found on the motel’s premises
belonged to the motel.

a. Would the jacket be considered mislaid, lost, or abandoned property?

b. Who is the current, rightful owner of the jacket?
c. How could the motel manager avoid future confusion about handling
“found” property?

4. NATHANIEL PATEL OPERATED THE Heart Suites, an extended-stay, limited-

service hotel of 85 rooms. Approximately 40 percent of his guests were extended-
stay, which Mr. Patel’s company defined as a stay longer than five consecutive
days. The remaining rooms were sold to traditional transient guests, whose
average stay was approximately 1.8 days. Bob Marley was an extended-stay guest
at the Heart SUITES, and an employee of Katy Highway Contractors. Mr. Marley
held the position of construction foreman for a stretch of interstate highway being
repaired in the vicinity of the Heart Suites. His company signed a contract with
the Heart confirming that Mr. Marley would be given a special monthly, rather
than daily, rate because he was staying in the hotel for six consecutive months as
part of his work assignment.

In the third month of his stay, Mr. Marley arrived at the hotel from his job site at
approximately 5:30 P.M. to find the door to his room ajar. He entered the room
and discovered that his P40,000 watch, which he had left on the nightstand, was
missing. Mr. Marley contacted Mr. Patel to complain of the theft. Because the
hotel was equipped with electronic clocks, Mr. Patel was able to perform a lock
audit and retrieved the following information for the day in question:

Time Key Used Key Issued To Results

6:30 A.M. 7J 105–60 Guest Entry
6:32 A.M. 7J 105–60 Guest Entry
1:30 P.M. 1M 002–3 Maintenance Entry

Mr. Marley maintained that someone negligently left the door open, and as a result his
watch was stolen. He contacted his company, whose in-house attorney called Mr. Patel.
The attorney stated that Mr. Marley was a tenant of the hotel, and as a landlord, Mr. Patel
was responsible for the negligent acts of his employee and should reimburse Mr. Marley
for his loss. Mr. Patel replied that Mr. Marley was not a tenant but a transient guest, and
thus was subject to a state law that limits an innkeeper’s liability in such cases to

The attorney disagreed, based on the six-month “lease” signed by Katy Highway
Contractors for Mr. Thimming. He demanded that the watch be replaced and threatened
to file suit if it was not. Mr. Patel contacted his attorney, who offered, based on his view
of the complexity of the case, to defend the Heart Suites for P30,000, with a required
retaining (down payment) of P20,000.

a. Was Mr. Thimming a transient guest or a tenant?

b. What should Mr. Patel do in the future to avoid the expense of litigation such
as this?
c. Why is the distinction important in this situation?
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Enjoy answering!

Atty. Kimmy