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Landowner not responsible for injuries suffered by woman who fell on pipe-fence adjacent to roadway

Gloria Gibson slipped on ice in the roadway and fell on  Mary Anderson's property.  She landed on  a pipe that Anderson had used, with rope, as a makeshift fence to keep children out  of her yard, and suffered severe injuries.  Gibson brought an action against Anderson, but the Court of Appeals dismissed her claim.  It noted that although her intrusion into Anderson's yard was unintentional, Gibson still remained a trespasser and Anderson's only duty to trespassers was to avoid willful and wanton misconduct. 

The Court held that the pipe and rope fence was not so dangerous as to make Anderson  responsible for a "trespasser's" injuries. The Court also held that the fence wasn't a public nuisance, and that even if Gibson wasn't a trespasser, the fence was an "open and obvious" hazard which Gibson could have avoided by avoiding the ice in the road.  Since the hazard was open and obvious, Anderson owed no duty to make it safe for anyone.

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