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Elderly woman can't sue grocer for fall on ice at entry

In Poole v. Foodland/Atlas Market, the Court of Appeals majority reversed the trial judge and granted summary disposition to a grocery store.  The case arose out of an elderly woman's fall on ice.  She had been dropped off at the store entrance, avoided the ice on her way in to the store, but fell on her way back out.  The grocery store's insurance company argued that Mrs. Poole could not sue because the ice was "open and obvious" and therefore the grocer owed no duty to correct the hazard.

Even if Mrs. Poole couldn't see the ice when exiting, the Court held that under the Republican Supreme Court majority's anaylsis, since there was snow on the ground, Mrs. Poole was on notice that there would be ice somewhere in the vicinity.  It was not unavoidable, because "she was not required to traverse the area where she entered the store..."  She could have simply got back in the car and asked her driver to take her home when she saw snow on the ground.

Judge Michael Kelly from Leelanau County offered a spirited dissent.  He noted, in essence, that it makes no sense to hold the 81-year-old widow to such a high standard of "reasonable care," while holding the business that relies on customer traffic to no duty of care.

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