Apartment tenant's fall in slushy entryway is dismissed as "open and obvious."
Charlene Klasner sued Harman & Tyner, Inc., her landlord, after she fell in the entryway to her apartment. She claimed her injuries were the result of the landlord's negligence in failing to remove ice, snow and slush that accumulated in the entryway. She also claimed that the failure to maintain the entryway was a breach of the landlord's statutory duty to maintain the apartment complex's common area in a manner reasonably fit for its intended purpose.The appellate panel upheld the lower court's dismissal of Klasner's case. It ruled that under the common law, the landlord's owed no duty to remove hazardous ice and snow because it was "open and obvious." They rejected Klasner's argument that the slushy ice was not "obvious" to her, because she was following a guest down the stairs and did not see the snow and ice. The Court also ruled, as a matter of law, that the common area was "fit" because her guest had traversed it minutes before without falling. Prior to the Engler Majority on Michigan's Supreme Court acting to do the insurance companys' bidding, questions like this were for the jury to decide based on comparative fault and the "reasonable person" standard.