Wanezek, Jaekels, Daul & Babcock, S.C. Attorneys at Law — Founded 1908

TAVERN OWNER LIABILITY EXTENDS TO PROPERTY IT DOES NOT OWN, BUT CONTROLS

In Flynn v. Audra’s Corp., 2010AP882 (Feb. 23, 2011), the Wisconsin Court of Appeals court ruled that a tavern owners duty of care extends to a parking lot maintained by the tavern, even if the tavern does not own the parking lot. The appeals court explained that ownership is not the sole basis of determining when a patron is considered “on the premises.” And further explained, “[A] tavern owner has a duty to protect patrons because the owner has superior knowledge of dangers that the place and character of the business may pose,” … “This rationale applies equally regardless of whether a patron’s injuries in a parking lot owned by the tavern or in an adjacent area that the tavern maintains and uses as a parking lot.” The appeals court clarified that “licensed premises” is synonymous with the term “business premises” in determining the reach of a tavern owner’s liability.