Slip and fall victim's case is reinstated to investigate failure to repair apartment gutter
Diane Sasu left her apartment after a snow storm to remove snow from her parked car. The lot had been cleared, but as she worked her way around her car, she slipped and fell on a patch of ice. She testified that she did not see the ice until she was stepping on it. She also alleged that it resulted from a ruptured gutter that spewed melted snow from the roof onto the parking lot. She sued the Village Park of Royal Oak--her landlord--but the trial court dismissed her claim.
On appeal, the higher court reinstated her claim. Like the trial judge, the appellate judges held that Sasu's testimony did not support her claim that the ice was "black ice" and not open and obvious. It determined that her testimony was equally consistent with visible ice that she did not see because of other obstructions to view. Nevertheless, if her apartment owner neglected to satisfy its statutory duty to maintain the premises, and allowed ice to accumulate by failing to repair a gutter, Sasu's claim would not be negated by the "open and obvious" doctrine.