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Postal Carrier Not Compelled to Traverse Icy Sidewalk; Danger Not “Effectively Unavoidable”
In Chevillot v Erie Investments No. 2, LLC, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Michigan Court of Appeals, issued May 7, 2019 (Docket No. 340897), the Court of Appeals considered whether an icy sidewalk confronted in the course of the Plaintiff’s employment as a postal carrier was unavoidable, so that Plaintiff could still maintain his premises liability suit despite the open and obvious nature of the hazard.
This case treats the necessity of encountering hazards in the course of one’s employment as a factual question, looking at whether extenuating circumstances compelled Plaintiff, a postal carrier, to confront an icy sidewalk. The case underscores the importance of the factual record, as the appellate panel relied on both Plaintiff’s testimony as well as post office policy documented in policy manuals, to find that Plaintiff was not compelled to encounter the hazard presented.
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