Patron who fell on black ice cannot sue grocery store because ice was "open and obvious"
Gerald Gass fell while leaving the Spartan Store in Roscommon. After he fell, while lying on the ground, he could see black ice where he fell. The store manager claimed that he could not find the ice which Gass claimed caused his fall. Sounds like a clear question of fact and credibility for the jury to sort out. The Court of Appeals said "no" however. It concluded that since Gass could see the ice when he was on the ground, and since it was cold and had rained overnight, and since there was a dusting of snow in some areas, the black ice that the store manager couldn't find was actually "open and obvious" eliminating any safety duty on the store's part.
Shockingly, the court also held that dismissal was warranted becaue even though the snow was "open and obvious" to Goss as a "casual observer" there was no notice of the condition to the store owner. What a perversion of language and justice. Goss' case is dismissed because the hazard was one he could have seen on casual observation, despite the fact that the store manager couldn't find it: and at the same time there was insufficient evidence to put the landowner/invitor business on notice of this "open and obvious" hazard .