Purple Heart delivery driver was not "invited" to pick up donation; cannot sue over hazardous condition
In the continuing constriction of landowners' duty to maintain a reasonably safe premises, the Court in Spraga v. Kuntzman held that a donation pick-up agency driver was not "invited" to the homeowner's property. For a number of years, the insurance-oriented Michigan Supreme Court has been re-writing the law of premises liability to diminish a landowners' duty. Holdings have eliminated any duty to act if a hazard is "open and obvious" and "open and obvious" has been interpreted to include even "black ice." Holdings have also reversed the prior rule that included attendees at church functions as "invitees."
The Court of Appeals applied these restrictive definitions this week to summarily dismiss the claim of an injured driver who worked for the Purple Heart donation service and A-1 Recycling. The Kuntzmans had scheduled a donation pick-up and left the bag on their porch. The drive fell on ice while crossing the sidewalk to retrieve it. The Court ruled that visitor-injury victims must show a "commercial purpose" of the landowner, or the homeowner owes no duty to inspect for dangerous conditions. The court ruled that the Kuntzmans donation was not "commercial" and that they claimed to be unaware of the hazardous condition, and therefore Spraga's suit was properly summarily dismissed.
The Court also held that there is no "special danger" of falling only to the ground.