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Black ice is "open and obvious"

By definition, "black" ice is not readily apparent because it does not reflect light back to the observer.  Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals has concluded, following Supreme Court guidance, that property owners are not responsible for black ice because "a reasonably prudent person would have been aware of the hazardous conditions that fluctuating weather patterns can produce in Michigan during Februrary, including the formation of ice on sum, a reasonable person WOULD HAVE discovered the condition on casual inspection."

Bluntly, this reasoning is patently unsound.  Reasonable people do not always discover hidden ice or other hazards "on casual inspection".  Rather, these judicial decisions represent a policy choice that the courts should not provide a venue for compensating fall-and-injury victims with insurance--and the provision of a false rationale to justify that policy.  It is unfortunate that this kind of judicial activism isn't the subject of sound legislative discussion and consideration rather than being a product of judicial fiat.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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