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Premises liability claim is dismissed by Michigan Supreme Court

Timothy Jones was badly hurt when he fell into a floor hatch in a DaimlerChrysler factory under renovation.  He sued, arguing that the location and nature of the floor hatch were unreasonably hazardous and that DaimlerChrysler had not taken reasonable steps to protect people working in the factory from the danger presented by the hatch.  The Court of Appeals had agreed with Jones' analysis. 

On February 4, 2011, however, the Supreme Court overturned this decision, holding that "The plaintiff...was not injured by the presence, location and design of the hatch, but rather by falling through the hole that was created when the hatch was opened."   We're not sure just what this means, but we assume that the logic is equally applicable to most injury situations:  The victim wasn't hurt by the sticking accelerator in his car, he was hurt because he struck the A-pillar when his runaway car hit a tree.  He wasn't hurt by the erroneous medication prescription, he was hurt when his altered mental state caused him to collapse and strike his head.  He wasn't hurt by the drunk crossing the centerline of the highway, he was hurt because his car rolled down an embankment and he was crushed.

In its one paragraph opinion, the  Court majority held that the hazardous hatch was "open and obvious" and that since Jones' employer had taken possession of the property and he had ordered the hatch to be opened previously, Jones could not hold the owner responsible for failing to address the hazardous location and design of the hatch.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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