Paula Chavez; Daniel Fagan; and April Chavez, Individually and as next friend of D.C., a minor, M.G., a minor, and Tommy Chavez v. Silverleaf Resorts, LLC, formerly Silverleaf Resorts, Inc.; and Holiday Inn Club Vacation Incorporated, formerly Orange Lake Country Club, Inc. (No. 03-22-00498-CV; April 3, 2024) arose from a premises liability lawsuit filed by the Chavezes against Silverleaf after they injured when a deck and stairway collapsed at a hillside cabin at Hill Country Resort. Silverleaf filed an answer alleging that the Chavezes were not invitees but trespassers or, alternatively, licensees, and that Silverleaf had no actual or constructive knowledge of the allegedly dangerous condition of the deck and stairway. Silverleaf moved for traditional summary judgment, which the trial court granted. The Chavezes appealed.

In an opinion by Justice Kelly, the court of appeals reversed and remanded to the trial court. The question was whether Defendants had conclusively negated the duty element of the Chavezes’ premises liability claim by establishing that they were trespassers to whom no duty to warn was owed. Defendants asserted that Plaintiffs were the guests of the timeshare owners, who were not authorized to grant access to the property under the resort’s “Bonus Time Program Rules.” The parties disputed whether those rules prohibited the timeshare owners from inviting others to the resort and, if so, were the individuals invited by the timeshare owners authorized to remain at the property in the owners’ absence. Interpreting the plain text of the rules, the court concluded that they did not prohibit the owners from inviting their relatives, the Chavezes, to the resort. In fact, the rules permit day-use amenities for up to 10 guests of the owners. Additionally, nothing in the rules requires the owners to be present at the resort in order for their guests to maintain their status as invitees. In the absence of evidence that the Chavezes were using the property outside the rules, consequently, the court found Silverleaf failed to establish that the Chavezes were trespassers when the accident occurred.

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