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Armored car driver's case against bank for slippery conditions is summarily dismissed

Jack Wright sued PNC Financial after he slipped on ice while collecting ATM deposits.  He argued that the bank was negligent in failing to reasonably maintain the area around the ATM free of snow and ice.  The Court of Appeals rejected the appeal of his case, after it was summarily dismissed, holding that since the icy condition was "open and obvious," the bank owed no duty to take reasonable steps to eliminate the hazard it presented.  "People who reside in Michigan are assumed to know the dangers associated with Michigan winters..."  The Court held that the bank owed no duty to address the icy condition, even though an assistant manager testified that he would not have noticed the ice if he hadn't been looking for it; and even though there was no snow in the parking lot on this particular sunny day.  Further, the ice wasn't "unavoidable" for the plaintiff because "he could have chosen a different path" between ATMs.

Sounds like a good public policy to us.  Why impose a duty on banks--or anyone--to make reasonable effort to render their property safe for the commercial visitors who must enter their property?  Better to let a health or disability insurer or Medicaid cover the resulting expenses--or let the victim go to bankruptcy to deal with the medical bills.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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