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Black ice in courtyard was "open and obvious:" despite prior complaints, business under no duty to address

 Katherine Hay sued McKinley & Associates, Inc., after she fell on black ice in their courtyard.  She argued that the business was responsible for her fall because the ice was virtually invisible in the shadow of the building, and the owners had already received complaints from customers about the condition.  She thought it was also relevant that an employee of the business had confirmed that ice often collected in this area. 

Two judges of the Court of Appeals, including the insurers' best friend, Henry Saad, deemed these facts irrelevant and held that Hay could not sue because the black ice condition was "open and obvious."   Because there was snow on the ground in the courtyard, she was on notice of its presence.  The business owner owed no duty to address it, but Hay owed a duty to avoid it that prevented her from filing a claim.  If that sounds illogical or unfair,  you're in agreement with Judge Fitzgerald:  he dissented from the decision.  Among other objections, the Judge accurately questioned whether the condition as depicted in photographs accurately represented what the human eye would have seen on the day in question.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262