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Rendall v. Pioneer Hotel, Inc.

Supreme Court of Arizona

October 17, 1950

RENDALL et ux.
v.
PIONEER HOTEL, Inc

Judgment affirmed.

Cusick & Watkins, of Tucson for appellants.

Darnell, Robertson & Holesapple, of Tucson, for appellees.

Phelps, Justice. La Prade, C. J., and Udall, Stanford and De Concini, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Phelps, Justice.

Page 987

[71 Ariz. 12] Linton L. Rendall and Alberta Louise Rendall, husband and wife, appellants, brought this action in the superior court of Pima County against the Pioneer Hotel, Inc. and the Tucson Junior Chamber of Commerce, a corporation (hereinafter called the hotel, and the J. C.'s respectively) to recover damages for injuries alleged to have been sustained by Mrs. Rendall as the result of a fall suffered while dancing upon the ballroom floor located in the Pioneer Hotel on the evening of February 20, 1947.

Appellants alleged in their complaint that on the above date they had purchased tickets from the J. C.'s to their annual rodeo dance at the ballroom located in the hotel and were in attendance as invitees at such dance when Mrs. Rendall was injured; that the direct and proximate cause of her fall and her consequent injury was: that the defendant hotel or the defendant J. C.'s or both of them negligently permitted persons to pass freely from the adjacent bars into the ballroom carrying drinks and to dance therein with drinks in their hands and to spill liquids and to drop and break glass containers on the dance floor; that they or one or the other of them negligently failed to regulate or prevent this conduct or to adequately inspect the dance floor or to maintain it in a safe condition and that while Mrs. Rendall was dancing on such ballroom floor as an invited guest she stepped on a spot where liquid had been spilled and glass broken causing her to lose her balance and fall backward resulting in the injury complained of.

On the evening in question the J. C.'s were conducting their annual rodeo dance at the hotel under an arrangement with the hotel whereby the ballroom was donated to the J. C.'s without any charge whatever (as had been the custom in former years).

Mr. A. L. Roberts who acted for the hotel in making the arrangements with the J. C.'s for use of the ballroom that evening testified that the J. C.'s were to assume complete charge thereof and full responsibility therefor. They asked that all tables be removed from the ballroom and that only the chairs be left and placed around the walls. Accordingly there were three rows of chairs placed around the walls. The J. C.'s hired their own police. The hotel retained no jurisdiction over the ballroom at all. The evidence also shows that the J. C.'s hired the orchestra

Page 988

for the evening. It further discloses that the J. C.'s sold tickets to approximately 2000 guests of whom 1400 to 1600 were in attendance at the dance that night. The J. C.'s retained the entire proceeds of the sale. The ballroom proved to be inadequate to accommodate the crowd and dancing was carried on in a street adjacent [71 Ariz. 13] to the hotel. The ballroom is located on the second floor of the hotel. Adjacent thereto the hotel operated two bars, one known as the Bamboo Room and the other as the Service Bar, entrances to which were made through separate doors leading from the ballroom. These bars were in the exclusive control of the hotel and all employees therein were employees of the hotel. There was also an entrance to the Bamboo Room from the hallway leading down to the ballroom. Admission to the ballroom was gained by quests surrendering their tickets to representatives of the J. C.'s located at a table which the hotel had permitted to be placed at the entrance of the hallway leading to the ballroom over which the hotel retained control and incidentally which passed by the Bamboo Room. The table was placed at the entrance to the hallway for the convenience of the J. C.'s with the understanding that guests of the hotel were to be given access to the Bamboo Room without the necessity of presenting tickets to the ball. Guests of the ball were stamped on their wrists with some kind of a colored substance for identification purposes. Guests of the hotel allowed to enter the Bamboo Room were not entitled to pass on into the ballroom.

In addition to the policemen employed by the J. C.'s to maintain proper decorum among the guests there were 12 members of the J. C. organization known as vigilantes who were ...


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