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Fall on doorway threshold is dismissed

Pauline Hart sued the Lee Wholesale Supply in Oakland County after she fell and suffered serious injury while entering the store.  The Court dismissed her case, relying on the Republican Supreme Court majority's enhanced "open and obvious" defense:  under that theory, if a "casual observer" would detect a hazard, the landowner is under no duty to repair it.

In Hart's case, the Plaintiff argued that her case should not have been dismissed summarily because she provided an affidavit from an expert who offered the opinion that the visibility of the threshold hazard was such that it would not be detected by a casual observer.  She argued that the expert's opinion created a fact question to be resolved by the jury.  The Court rejected her argument and held that the trial judge was under no duty to consider the affidavit of the expert in making a summary judgment decision.

This case is a good example of how the Republican majority of Michigan's Supreme Court has usurped the constitutional power of the jury to make factual decisions by describing them as "legal" analysis.  It is a raw denial of the injured person's constitutional right to a jury: it is also precisely what the Chamber of Commerce and the insurance industry seeks from "reforming" judges when they contribute millions of dollars to election campaigns.

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