Patrons injured when wooden ramp collapsed cannot sue; some defects "open and obvious", remainder not known to owner
Kathleen Allen and Janet Cordts were hurt when the wooden ramp leading away from the entrance to the Longbranch Saloon in Monroe collapsed beneath them. The Court of Appeals, with Kirsten F. Kelly on the panel, ruled that they could not pursue an injury claim. Judge Kelly has never heard an insurance defense that she wouldn't sign on for. In this case, the Court ruled that although the ramp was "weathered looking" and old, there was no evidence that the owner was aware of a defect (he hadn't notice one when picking up stray beer cans). With regard to the design flaws in the ramp, for example, the lack of a handrail and the fact that it was too steep, the Court held that a claim could not be based on these flaws because they were "open and obvious" to the women. It didn't matter that they were open and obvious to the owner: he still owed no duty, on precedents set by Michigan's Republican judges, to make repairs to obvious hazards. So, if you are hurt on a commercial property, you are damned if the hazards are obvious, and you are damned if they are not. And hazards presented by failing to meet a building code are irrelevant.