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Supreme Court Mostly Shuts the Door on “Open and Obvious” as a Motion Defense

 / July 31, 2023

In the consolidated cases of Kandil-Elsayed v F & E Oil, Inc, ___ Mich ___ (2023) (Docket No. 162907) and Pinsky v Kroger Co of Michigan, ___ Mich ___ (2023) (Docket No. 163430), the Michigan Supreme Court overruled Lugo v Ameritech Corp, Inc, 464 Mich 512 (2001).

In Kandil-Elsayed, ___ Mich at ___; slip op at 2, the Court held that Lugo “was wrongly decided and must be overruled in two respects.” “First, we overrule Lugo’s decision to make the open and obvious danger doctrine a part of a land possessor’s duty.” Id. “Rather, we hold that the open and obvious nature of a condition is relevant to breach and the parties’ comparative fault.” Id.

“Second, we overrule the special-aspects doctrine and hold that when a land possessor should anticipate the harm that results from an open and obvious condition, despite its obviousness, the possessor is not relieved of the duty of reasonable care.” Id.

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