1 McDaniels v. Robinson, 26 Vt. 317. In this case Mr. Chief Justice Redfield says: "This case, on the evidence put in by the plaintiff, seems to present, in the first instance, the relation of guest in the strictest sense. And we do not think it necessary to continue that relation, that the plaintiff should have continued his dwelling, for the time even, within the inn. The relation of guest was clearly created by putting the horse at the inn, and it was undeniably extended to all the plaintiff's goods left at the inn by his taking a room, and taking some of his meals at the inn, and lodging there a portion of the time. This matter seems to be perfectly settled by the custom in the cities. It is there considered that taking a room is the decisive act to create the relation. That being done, the guest is charged, as such, for his meals and lodging, whether he take them at the inn or with his friends, as any one may know who has had experience in such matters. And this seems to us well enough. One in so extensive a city as New York might find it convenient to have a room for his parcels, and to take his dinner at a down-town hotel, while he might choose to have his lodging, and most of his personal apparel and baggage, at an up-town house. And it would certainly be unreasonable, if one chose to be at this expense, that he should not have the same security for his goods left at the one hotel as the other. Or if one took lodgings at a hotel, and should subsequently find it more comfortable to lodge with a friend, and for any reason should not choose at once to give up his room, and break up his connection with the hotel, it would certainly sound very strange that he should not have the same security for his goods as if he made the hotel his constant abiding place for the time. He would certainly be bound, ordinarily, to pay till he gave up his room; and in all the books, pay, or the right to charge, is made the criterion of the innkeeper's liability. But after one has given up his room, and closed his connection with the hotel, then, indeed, it is generally understood, and no doubt correctly, that for any baggage left at the inn the landlord is only liable as a common bailee." See also Hickman v. Thomas, 16 Ala. 666; Washburn v. Jones, 14 Barb. 193, and cases cited in the previous notes; Wintermute v. Clark, 5 Sandf. 242.
§ 906. But if a person, not being a traveller, come upon a special contract, and stay, he is a boarder, and not a guest.1 So, also, a neighbor, or friend, who comes at the request of the innkeeper, is not a guest. But if a traveller put up at an inn, and be there received as a guest, he does not cease to be a guest, and become a boarder, simply by making a special agreement with the innkeeper for the price of his board per week.2
§ 907. When a party of friends come to an inn to dine, they are jointly and severally liable for the entire cost of the entertainment, unless there be circumstances showing an express intention to the contrary,3 - as if they should come as guests of one person and be so understood by the landlord to be, or if one person should specially order the dinner and assume sole responsibility therefor; in which cases, as credit would be solely given to one, no implied promise would be raised by the others to pay.1
1 Bac. Abr. Inns and Innkeepers, C. 5; Story on Bailm. § 477.
2 Berkshire Woollen Co. v. Proctor, 7 Cush. 417. In this case, the plaintiff's agent, named Russell, was robbed of money while at the defendant's inn. Fletcher, J., said: "It is further maintained for the defendants, that Russell was not a guest, in the sense of the law, but a boarder. But Russell surely came to the defendants' inn as a wayfaring man and a traveller, and the defendants received him as such wayfaring man and traveller, as a guest at their inn. Russell being thus received by the defendants, as their guest at their inn, the relation of innkeeper and guest, with all the rights and liabilities of that relation, was instantly established between them. The length of time that a man is at an inn makes no difference, whether he stays a week or a month, or longer, so that always, though not strictly transiens, he retains his character as a traveller. Story on Bailm. § 477. The simple fact that Russell made an agreement as to the price to be paid by him by the week, would not, upon any principle of law or reason, take away his character as a traveller and a guest. A guest for a single night might make a special contract, as to the price to be paid for his lodging, and whether it were more or less than the usual price, it would not affect his character as a guest. The character of guest does not depend upon the payment of any particular price, but upon other facts. If an inhabitant of a place makes a special contract with an innkeeper there, for board at his inn, he is a boarder, and not a traveller or a guest, in the sense of the law. But Russell was a traveller, and put up at the defendants' inn as a guest, was received by the defendants as a guest, and was, in the sense of the law, and in every sense, a guest." See also, as to meaning of guest, Washburn v. Jones, 14 Barb. 193; McDonald v. Edgerton, 5 Barb. 560; Towson v. Havre de Grace Bank, 6 Harr. & Johns. 47; Walling v. Potter, 35 Conn. 183 (1868); Hall v. Pike, 100 Mass. 495; Norcross v. Norcross, 53 Me. 163; Pinkerton v. Woodward, 33 Cal. 577; Carter v. Hobbs, 12 Mich. 52; Day v. Bather, 2 H. & C. 14.
3 Forster v. Taylor, 3 Camp. 39, per Lord Ellenborough.
§ 908. This class of bailees constitutes an exception to the general rule, applicable to bailees for custody. An innkeeper's responsibilities are nearly coincident with those of a common carrier.2 He is bound to exert the greatest diligence in regard to the goods and chattels of his guests; and his responsibility extends to deeds, obligations, and choses in action,2 as well as to all the movable goods and money which are placed within the inn; and is not limited to such things and sums only as are designed and are necessary for the ordinary travelling expenses of the guest.4 He is regarded as an insurer of all property committed to his care, and mere proof of a loss by a guest at the inn renders him primÔ facie responsible.5 He may, however, exonerate himself by proving that the guest had undertaken the exclusive custody of the goods, or occasioned the loss by his own negligence;6 or that the loss resulted from inevitable casualty.7