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Beauty School not responsible for water slopping out of bucket used by employees

Amanda Tolen, a student at the Alpena Hollywood School of Beauty, was hurt when she slipped in water spilled from a five-gallon bucket used to transport water to various pedicure stations.  She claimed that the School was responsible for the spill because it was created by a School agent and because it wasn't readily visible on the glossy tile floor.  The Court of Appeals issued a typically-Henry Saad-opinion uphold summary disposition of Tolen's claim.  The judges ruled that the water was "open and obvious" thus eliminating any duty by the school to eliminate the hazard.  The judges further held that it was "nothing other than speculation" that another student created the puddle--although the judges declined to identify who, other than a student-employee-agent, would have moved the bucket and created the spill.  The judges also rejected the woman's argument that the practice of using the lidless bucket to carry water put the school on constructive notice of the likelihood of spills, since she "offered no evidence that such water spillages occurred..."

Lastly, the judges ruled that the woman's testimony that she didn't see the puddle was insufficient to establish that it was not obvious, since she did not "testify that she was looking where she was stepping..." and in fact said she "took a step back" before falling.  Judge Saad's opinions are frequently full of argumentative conclusions that are merely one perspective on the evidence.

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