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Company that allowed debris to accumulate on floor owed no duty to invitee attending business meeting

John Preston sued Loving Care FLowers, Inc., after he sustained a rotator cuff injury to his shoulder.  Preston attended a business meeting at Delta Flowers and was accompanied to a back office.  When he re-traced his steps to leave 45 minutes later, employees had allowed floral debris to accumulate on the floor and Preston slipped and fell.  The Court held that the florist and its employees owed no duty to Preston or other visitors invited to negotiate the path to the backroom.

Specifically, the Court applied the Engler Majority analysis of "open and obvious" to eliminate any duty of the florist to its visitors.  Even though Preston was essentially "trapped" and forced to make his way through the floral debris, the judges ruled that "the overriding public policy is to encourage people to take reasonable care for their own safety [and not to take care for the safety of others]" and since Preston could have demanded that the employees clean up their mess before he left the meeting area, he is solely responsible for the injuries that he suffered--even if they were caused by the negligence of the florist's employees.

This is Michigan law as defined by insurance interests.  Certainly it is not the law as understood by most people.

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