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Bavarian Inn avoids responsibility for slippery hallway

Gloria Williams suffered a broken leg when she fell in a hallway at the Bavarian Inn on the first day of a winter storm.  She claimed that the brown hallway tile was wet and slippery, but that due to the lighting and the color of the tiles, the water was not readily visible.  One of her companions testified that she had also slipped in the hallway and confirmed the plaintiff's account of the event. The Court of Appeals rejected the lower court's ruling that the owner owed no duty to eliminate the hazard condition, as the three judges concluded that the hazard presented by the wet tile was not "open and obvious to a casual observer".  Nevertheless, it upheld the summary disposition of Williams' claim because her attorneys were unable to prove that the proprietor knew or should have known of the condition beforehand and had a reasonable opportunity to remedy it.

The court noted that there was no proof that Defendant had been made aware of the condition, had fielded complaints, or had responded inappropriately to the weather conditions.  It refused to impute knowledge of the slippery hallway to the owner based upon the ambient weather conditions, which Plaintiff claimed had prevailed throughout the day.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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