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Another premises liability claim is dismissed; plaintiff had stumbled over flatbed cart at casino

Shanna Crumby sued the MGM Grand after she fell while walking through the casino at 2 am.  A casino employee was using the low-lying cart to move crowd control stanchions but had stopped to seek directions.  Crumby did not see the cart and fell suffering injury.

Crumby's attorneys argued that leaving the low-lying cart stationary in an aisle was negligence by the employee and not "a condition on the land."  The Casino argued that it was a condition on the land and therefore if it was "available to be seen on casual inspection," Crumby could not sue for negligence.  The Casino claimed that it was an "open and obvious" hazard which the premises occupier owes no duty to alleviate.

The trial judge ruled that the cart was a "condition on the land"--like a fixture--and therefore subject to the "open and obvious" rule.  He summarily dismissed the case and refused to allow the injured woman to sue for negligence (where the owner and victim's respective fault would be weighed and balanced).  The Court of Appeals upheld this outcome, deeming the result necessary under the Republican-dominated, insurance-friendly, Michigan Supreme Court's analysis of a property owner's duty.

Historically, to be a "condition on the land" a hazard needed to either be a danger of the property itself, or a danger associated with a fixture attached permanently to the property.  This expansion of immunity for landowners (and their insurers) is simply one more example of how special interest-influenced judges have twisted the law to prevent jurors from determining relative fault and compensation for injury victims.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262