Supreme Court decides that black ice is an open and obvious danger
On May 28, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a brief summary opinion, upholding on a 4-3 vote the argument that so-called "black ice" is an "open and obvious" danger which a property owner is under no duty to correct. Justice Weaver joined with the three holdover Justices from the so-called "Engler Majority" to grant property owners this broad protection. The remaining Justices disagreed with the decision, which concluded by stating that "black ice" [even though invisible by definition] can be open and obvious "when there are indicia of a potentially hazardous condition" such as temperatures below freezing, snow present, earlier mist or freezing rain" and such conditions as would "by their nature...[have] alerted an average user of ordinary intelligence to discover the danger upon casual inspection." In other words, during most of the winter, landowners in Michigan are under no duty to remove or address black ice conditions--no longer how long they are present. The decision is Thomas Janson v. Sajewski Funeral Home, Inc.