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Ice on handicap ramp is "open and obvious;" no claim allowed.

Christopher Sims slipped on ice on a motel handicap ramp and fell.  The Court did not identify the injuries he suffered.  When he sued the motel, however, his claim was dismissed and the Court of Appeals affirmed.  The Court ruled that because Sims lived at the hotel and was aware that roof water fell and froze on the ramp, the hazard was "open and obvious" and the Hotel owed no duty to correct the condition.  It is said that knowing of a hazardous condition exempts an injury victim from any claim but imposes no duty on the owner of the known condition.  This situation cries out for an analysis of "comparative fault"--as was the situation before the Engler Majority of Michigan's Supreme Court expanded the "open and obvious" doctrine to eliminate the landowner's duty.

It is also interesting that the court in this case never explained why the ice on the handicap ramp was not "effectively unavoidable" (an exception to "open and obvious"):  perhaps Sims did not require handicap access to enter the hotel.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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