One inch sidewalk elevation is "open and obvious:" no duty to correct
Marianne Ricevuto tripped over a one-inch elevation in the sidewalk and was injured. She sued the Washtenaw Avenue Bookstore, alleging a negligent failure to correct the long-standing problem. The Bookstore claimed that it owed no duty to correct the buckled sidewalk because it was "open and obvious" on casual inspection. Ricevuto argued that because the walk was uniform in color and texture, the buckled slab was not obvious on casual inspection, and the trial court agreed. The Court of Appeals panel, which included the insurers' friend, Henry Saad, overturned the lower court and held that Ricevuto was owed no duty because she could have seen the break in the sidewalk on casual inspection. Because it "could be seen" from 2-3 feet away, the Court of Appeals judges deemed it "obvious...on casual inspection" regardless of whether a reasonable person actually would have noticed the break.