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You Missed a Spot: Snow and Ice in Parking Lot Did Not Violate Landlord’s Statutory Covenant of “Fitness for Intended Purpose”

Premises Liability / March 20, 2020

Snow and ice are generally open and obvious and rarely present special aspects. Cole v Henry Ford Health System, 497 Mich 881 (2014); Hoffner v Lanctoe, 492 Mich 450, 456 (2012).

However, the open and obvious doctrine is not a defense to a claim under the Landlord-Tenant Act, MCL 554.139. Amin v Village Park Preservation Ltd, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued March 19, 2020 (Docket No. 346752), p 3.

A landlord breaches its duties under § 139(1)(a) only if snow and/or ice render a common area, such as a parking lot, unfit for its “intended purpose.” Under Allison v AEW Capital Mgt, LLP, 481 Mich 419 (2008), this requires the plaintiff to show that the snow or ice was more than a “mere inconvenience.

The Amin panel found that “a patch of ice in the parking lot on an icy day in Michigan did not render the parking lot unfit for its intended purpose and did not preclude Amin from accessing his car.” Amin, unpub op at 4. So there was “no genuine issue of material fact that Village Park did not breach its statutory duty….” Id.

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