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Nephew can't sue for bad advice; helping homeowner doesn't make nephew an "invitee"

Joseph Dupras came to his building contractor-uncle's home to help him roof the  garage.  It had rained, but the uncle, Tim Lloyd-lee allegedly told Dupras that if his shoes "squeaked" on the roof, it would be safe to work and not slippery.  Unduly trusting, the nephew found that his shoes squeaked, attempted to cross the roof and fell and was badly hurt.  The Court dismissed his injury claim against the uncle.  The uncle's insurer argued that even though the case was based on the uncle's bad advice about "squeaking" shoes, the case was one of "premises liability" and not a negligence case.  Therefore, since the wet roof was an "open and obvious" danger, the uncle was not responsible for his bad advice. 

The Court also held that the uncle owed the nephew only the duty of a premises owner to a "tolerated" licensee, even though Dupras was on the uncle's land to assist the uncle.  The Court interpreted a prior "Engler Majority" decision to hold the uncle to the higher "invitee" duty (to warn of dangerous conditions that aren't obvious) only where the property is held open for a commercial purpose.

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