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Don't step in puddles!

Alphonse Schaaf was badly hurt when he stepped in a mud-puddle at Pullman Industries and fell on an iron drain grate hidden under the muddy water.  He had pulled his truck onto the premises and was walking around the cab in an area of mud and standing water when he fell.  A jury concluded that the drain grate did not pose an "unreasonable risk of harm" and Schaaf appealed.  Two of the appellate court judges went beyond the jury's risk decision to hold that the drain grate hidden by the mud-puddle was an "open and obvious" danger which the premises' owner owed no duty to alleviate. 

In a concurrence, Judge Gleicher suggested doubt about whether the hazard was "open and obvious" but pointed out that it was up to the jury to decide whether it was an unreasonable hazard.  Since the jury concluded that the grate did not present an unreasonable risk of harm, Schaaf had no foundation for an appeal.

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