Ice on snow-covered porch is "open and obvious;" case is dismissed
Denise Moyer sued Nancy and Ken Sieloff after falling on their front porch. She claimed that she fell on ice. She admitted that the porch was snow-covered and that she could have left the home by the back door, but argued that the Sieloff's owed a duty to remove the ice from the porch within a reasonable time period.
The Court rejected Moyer's claims, holding that the homeowner owed no duty to eliminate the ice, no matter how long it had existed, because the ice was an "open and obvious" danger. According to the Engler Majority of the Supreme Court, "obvious dangers are, in fact, no danger at all to a reasonably careful person." Further, where the injury victim had notice of snow, he or she is held, as a matter of law, to have notice of the existence of ice.
The Court concluded that to avoid this harsh "no duty" outcome, a victim must show a "substantial risk of death or severe injury" or that the danger is "effectively unavoidable."