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Maybe black ice isn't obvious. Duh.

In its continuing struggle to make sense of an "open and obvious" duty defense expanded beyond logic or common sense by the Engler Majority to relieve insurers of responsibility for falls, the Court of Appeals has once again addressed the black ice issue. In Wilson v. LakePointe Gas and Oil, three judges of the Court of Appeals followed the lead of the Slaughter v. Blarney Oil Castle Co., decision, and overturned a summary dismissal.  Wilson fell on black ice at a service station, but the trial court threw out his claim, applying the "open and obvious" defense.  The court noted with approval the Slaughter holding, stressing that by any definition of black ice, it is either "invisible, nearly invisible, transparent of nearly transparent" and therefore by definition it cannot be "open and obvious".  It is good to see some level of consistency and intellectual honesty in the examination of premises liability; unfortunately, the entire area of law needs to be re-examined with common sense.

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