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Employees Only: Utilizing Employee Exit Does Not Make Black Ice Effectively Unavoidable

Premises Liability / January 16, 2018

Michigan courts routinely rule that black ice is subject to the open and obvious doctrine when there is indicia of wintry conditions, such as freezing temperatures or snow accumulation. In Estate of Lee Hartin, Jr., by Dawn M. Simons, personal representative v Vista Grande Villa (Docket No. 337216, unpublished, December 14, 2017), Plaintiff attempted to circumvent this longstanding rule by arguing that the use of a designated employee exit made black ice in the employee parking lot effectively unavoidable. The appellate court rejected this argument and held the proper inquiry was whether Decedent Hartin was required or compelled to confront the black ice.

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