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MIKE v. LEBANON MIRIDITES LEAGUE (04/19/66)

decided: April 19, 1966.

MIKE, APPELLANT,
v.
LEBANON MIRIDITES LEAGUE



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County, June T., 1963, No. 184, in case of Sam Mike v. Lebanon Miridites League.

COUNSEL

John G. Good, Jr., with him Ray and Good, for appellant.

Harold F. Reed, Jr., with him Robert L. Orr, and Reed, Orr & Reed, for appellee.

Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen. Mr. Justice Eagen concurs in the result. Mr. Justice Roberts concurs in the result solely on the ground that the record reveals no negligence on the part of appellee.

Author: Cohen

[ 421 Pa. Page 217]

Sam Mike was a member of the Lebanon Miridites League, a social organization which maintained a clubroom

[ 421 Pa. Page 218]

    where intoxicating beverages were available to members. While in the clubroom, Mike was injured when thrown to the floor as he attempted to stop a fight in which several members of the organization were engaged.

The League did not have a bartender present to dispense the drinks and supervise the operation of the clubroom; rather, the customary practice was for each member to prepare his own drink and place the payment therefor in the cash register. Pursuant to the League's bylaws and in compliance with the Pennsylvania Liquor Code (Act of April 12, 1951, P. L. 90, § 403(c), 47 P.S. § 4-403) the Board of Directors had appointed a bar manager. He, however, was not present the night of the injury, and from the self-service custom it appears that he was often not present.

At the trial the court entered a compulsory non-suit. Mike filed a motion to take off the non-suit which the lower court refused. He appeals from the judgment entered after the refusal order.

Mike argues that the lower court erred because, he says, the League had a duty to provide a bartender to supervise the conduct of the persons in the clubroom. The contention is that the duty of a club to its members is that of a possessor of land to a business visitor, and that in places where intoxicants are dispensed such duty requires protecting the patron by having a bartender present.

Without deciding whether the duty of the League to Mike was that owed to a business visitor or some lesser standard of care, we have concluded that even if the relationship were such as to impose the higher duty the lower court did not err in entering the non-suit.

While it is true that the proprietor of a bar open to the public has an obligation towards a business visitor to keep the place ...


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