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Invitee/customer cannot sue after fall on sidewalk where gutter leak froze

Gary Louks suffered injury at the Wixom Village Commercial mall when he fell on the sidewalk after picking up a pizza.  He said the sidewalk appeared to be clear and dry until, after he fell, he noticed a small puddle of black ice where a leaking gutter had frozen.  He argued that the leaking gutter was a property defect that the property managers should have discovered and repaired  He even presented the evidence of a mall tenant who testified that the leak was present a year earlier. 

Despite this testimony, in a confused and conclusory opinion the Court of Appeals ruled that Louks' case should be dismissed as a matter of law.  It held that Louks failed to present a factual inference that the owner had actual knowledge of the leak.  The opnion completely failed to address the argument that if a tenant became aware of the leak prior to the injury, the property manager "should have" discovered it as well (which is the legal standard governing the liability of a premises' owner when an invitee is injured).

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262