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Man who fell at car wash cannot sue operator; icy exit was "open and obvious."

When Eugene Rogers drove through the Pontiac Ultimate Auto Wash, the employees folded his car mirrors in, however, there were no employees present to flip them back at the exit.  When he got out of the car to adjust the mirrors, he fell on ice and was injured.  The company argued that it owed no duty to Rogers because the wet pavement in cold temperatures was an "open and obvious hazard" which it therefore owed no duty to eliminate.  The Court agreed and dismissed his case.

This case helps to illustrate the flaw in the broad "open and obvious" rule adopted by the Michigan Republican Supreme Court majority:  the car wash knew that mirrors need to be re-adjusted before a motorist re-enters the roadway, knew that the exit was icy and slippery, but owes no duty to address the problem.  It simply isn't good policy for anyone but insurance companies to eliminate any duty to respond to a known hazard that the commercial landowner is in the best position to address most economically (in this case with rubber mats or gratings or salt, for example).

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