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Slip and fall claim can't be blamed on toilet bowl cleaner without expert

Francis Mandel used toilet bowl cleaner to clean her bathroom floor, but then two different guests slipped and fell on the tile floor within  24 hours.  She picked up the Comet cleanser to re-clean the area and admitted that the toilet bowl cleaner apparently made the floor slippery.  The Court of Appeals dismissed the injury case brought by the second person to fall, however, suggesting that maybe Deborah Plutschuck fell because she was wearing nylon socks, "which in common experience are not known to provide friction".

Apparently, some judges of the Court of Appeals have developed an additional expertise  in coefficients of friction.  Seems to us that this holding is even more slippery than a tile floor in nylons:  granted, the injury victim's attorney probably should have hired someone to confirm Ms. Mandel's (the apartment owner's) testimony that the toilet bowl cleaner made the floor too slippery.  That certainly adds to the cost of litigation, but it would have been the "right" compulsive thing to do.

Nevertheless, Mandel's verbal confirmation of the fact that she used the toilet bowl cleaner on the floor, combined with the two falls in short succession and her perception that the floor was slippery after she misused the cleaner on the tile floor, certainly created a viable, circumstantial claim.  Reasonable people could conclude that misuse of the cleaner was a cause of the two falls--even if one of the victims was wearing those dangerous, nasty nylon socks.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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