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Premises Liability

Premises Liability / May 9, 2018

Court/Case No: Wayne County Circuit Court/17-012727-NO

Tried/Argued Before: Judge

Demand: $200,000.00

Verdict: $0 – Motion for Summary Disposition granted

Name of Judge(s): Honorable Leslie Kim Smith

Keys to the Case:

Plaintiff filed this premises liability action as a result of an alleged slip and fall that occurred on a sidewalk near Defendant’s office. Plaintiff alleged that she parked her vehicle and exited with her golden retriever. When she exited, she observed snow on the sidewalk and in the alleyway. Plaintiff then proceeded through the snow covered alley with her dog. As Plaintiff attempted to step from the alleyway onto the sidewalk, she fell and allegedly sustained significant injuries to her wrist that would later require multiple surgeries. Plaintiff testified that after she fell, she realized that she had slipped on ice as she could see and feel the ice melting beneath her.

Defendant quickly filed a motion for summary disposition arguing that the alleged condition was open and obvious and that Defendant did not have notice. Defendant relied on the Michigan Supreme Court case of Janson v Sajewski Funeral Home, Inc, 486 Mich 934 (2010), which held that “black ice” is considered open and obvious when – as was the case here on the date of this alleged fall, – there are “indicia of a potentially hazardous condition,” including the “specific weather conditions present at the time of the plaintiff’s fall.”

Judge Leslie Kim Smith agreed and granted Defendant’s motion. In so holding, Judge Smith noted that because Plaintiff had lived in Michigan for 71 years and testified that she noticed snow in the alleyway and parking lot, indicia of a potentially hazardous condition existed to classify the alleged black ice as open and obvious. Judge Smith also ruled that Defendant did not have notice of the alleged condition.

Defense SW attorney(s) Involved in Case:


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