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Will Black Friday Create Legal Liability For Holiday Retailers?

Do retailers, such as Walmart, owe their customers a duty of care? Yes they do. Land owners owe a duty of care to all invitees. The class of persons designated as invitees includes those who have come upon the land at the express or implied invitation of a possessor for the purpose of transacting some business within the scope of the invitation.

The duty of exercising ordinary care for the safety of business visitors may require one who invites the public to his/her premises to purchase goods to take measures different from those required of one inviting others to his/her private residence.

A land owner is required to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition and has a duty to exercise due care to protect invitees from conditions that can result in injury. Whereas, a land owner has no duty to protect invitees from open and obvious dangers. However, even if a danger is open and obvious, a landowner owner may still owe a duty to protect an invitee if the risk of harm remains unreasonable.

A possessor owes an additional duty towards an invitee to exercise reasonable care to make the land safe for the reception of his/her invitee, or ascertain the actual condition of the land so that by warning the invitee, the possessor may give the invitee an opportunity to decide intelligently whether or not to accept the invitation or permission.

This Black Friday saw a lot of mob like mentality. Some of the issues were created by people's greed, while others were created by retailers' own negligence. Nevertheless, people were injured because of this greed or negligence. Are the stores at fault?

The Law Offices of James V. Sansone is located in Santa Rosa, California and serves clients with theircivil litigation needs throughout the North Bay area of California, including Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Lake County, Santa Rosa, Napa, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Windsor, Bodega Bay, Ukiah, Willits, Clearlake, Lakeport and Kelseyville.

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