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Slippery When Wet; Water Discovered on Floor After Fall Not Ruled Open and Obvious

Premises Liability / February 26, 2020

Thomas Belmont v St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital is an unpublished opinion, and therefore is not binding authority.  Unpublished decisions may be used as persuasive authority in the lower courts.  This case expands upon the open and obvious doctrine, and whether the condition was noticeable on casual inspection.  Here, the Court of Appeals determined that there was a genuine question of material fact as to whether Plaintiff should have been aware of the wet floor prior to his fall.   

The Court uses an objective standard to determine whether a condition is open and obvious.  To survive a motion for summary disposition, a plaintiff must show that an ordinary individual could not have discovered the hazard upon casual inspection.  In this case, despite the fact that Plaintiff testified he could see the floor was wet after he fell, the Court refused to preclude the possibility that an average and reasonably cautious person would have noticed the wetness on the floor before walking on it.

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