Failure to illuminate exit steps is not an "open and obvious" danger and school may be held accountable
Dennis Ahola attended a basketball game with his sons at the Genesee Christian School. It was daylight when they arrived, but dark when the game finished. Ahola left the building and fell on steps outside the doorway that he could not see in the dark and did not recall from entering the building. He filed suit to recover for his injuries, however the school's insurer claimed that it owed no duty to Ahola because the dangerous condition where he fell was "open and obvious" on casual inspection.
The Court of Appeals pointed out that it was for the jury to determine whether the condition was so unusual and so unsafe that a reasonable person might not have detected it "on casual inspection." It pointed out that "darkness may impair a plaintiff's visibility to the extent that an otherwise observable danger no longer qualifies as open and obvious...the risk of harm posed by the absence of light here qualifies as unreasonable despite its obvious nature, given the simple remedial measure that could have prevented injury--turning on or repairing the lights."