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If you grew up in Michigan, our courts say you must expect black ice in February

In Jennings v. New Attitudes Beauty Salon, two of the three judges disagreed with the trial court and held that a Michigan resident can never be surprised by black ice in February.

The lady who fractured her ankle in the Defendant's parking lot argued that she was being careful as she approached her car in the dark, and saw no evidence of black ice.  She claimed that the Defendants had not been reasonably careful in maintaining the lot.  The two-judge majority said that she did not create an issue for the jury and ruled as a matter of law that the landowner owed her no duty.  The Court said, in essence, that anyone who has lived through a Michigan winter should never be surprised by black ice in February, under any circumstances, because the ice is "open and obvious" [even though by definition black ice is not visible].  The dissenting judge agreed with the trial judge that whether the landowner owed a duty to his patrons to inspect, light or clear the parking lot was a question for the jury.

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