Under Maryland premises liability law, a property owner generally owes a duty of care to most people who are on their property. The extent of that duty is largely determined by the legal status of that person and reason for being on the property. This can make a difference in the outcome of a Maryland personal injury case, as illustrated in a February 20, 2020 appeal.
The plaintiff in the case was an active septuagenarian, who typically walked her dog two or three times per day through a shopping center and business park owned by the defendant. One day, while on her usual route, the plaintiff suffered a fall in the parking lot. The impact shattered the bones in her right knee and elbow.
The plaintiff filed a negligence action against the defendant. In her complaint, she alleged that she tripped over a thin metal rod that was projecting out of the surface of the asphalt parking lot. The lower court concluded that the plaintiff was a bare licensee on the property, as she did not intend to purchase anything from the shopping center, and as such, the defendant was not liable for her injury. After the circuit court dismissed her case, the plaintiff appealed the issue to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, arguing that she was an implied invitee.