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Premises Liability / August 30, 2018
Court/Case No: Oakland County Circuit Court/17-158020-NO
Tried/Argued Before: Judge
Verdict: $0 – Motion for Summary Disposition granted
Name of Judge(s): Honorable Denise Langford Morris
Keys to the Case:
Plaintiff filed this lawsuit alleging serious injuries arising out of an incident which occurred when Plaintiff, while working in the course and scope of his employment, ascended a telephone pole owned by Defendant. While Plaintiff was affixed to the top of the pole, the pole broke and fell to the ground as a result of rot which could not be observed upon inspection. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant was negligent in failing to inspect its poles.
Prior to mounting the pole, Plaintiff performed a MIOSHA-mandated “push, poke and prod safety test” upon which he discovered no defects. Additionally, Plaintiff testified that he never received any type of documentation showing that he had permission to use the pole for a service drop. In fact, there was no tariff agreement in place for the subject pole and Defendant had not granted Plaintiff permission to use the pole on the date of the incident.
Defendant filed two Motions for Summary Disposition in the case. The first contended that Defendant had no notice of any alleged defect as even Plaintiff testified that he felt the pole was safe to climb. The second motion maintained that Plaintiff was trespassing on Defendant’s property at the time of the incident and that Defendant had no duty to regularly inspect every one of its telephone poles. In a written opinion, the trial court agreed and granted both motions, finding that Defendant had no notice of any defect and that Plaintiff failed to show that Defendant had a legal duty to periodically inspect its poles. Additionally, the Court noted that Plaintiff’s claim sounded exclusively in premises liability rather than ordinary negligence as Plaintiff had alleged.
Defense SW attorney(s) Involved in Case: