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Suprise! The activist majority of Michigan's Supreme Court pronounces another restrictive ruling on liability

The "Engler" Court has already been criticized for eliminating the duty of a landowner to make his property "reasonably safe" for invited commercial visitors.  It had to acknowledge an exception to its newly-stated policy, where the Legislature had promulgated a statutory duty to make common areas of property safe for tenants.

As soon as the four activists had recognized the latter duty, they embarked on a campaign to minimize it.  First, they held that the statutory duty to make rented property "reasonably safe" applied only to tenants.  The landlord's statutory duty did not protect guests legally on the property.  This week they further diluted the duty by holding, in Allison v. AEW Capital Management, LLP, that this duty owed to tenants does not include any duty to remove or remedy natural accumulations of ice or snow.  In yet another example of the activist court arrogating to themselves the right to decide jury questions, the four justices held that the sole purpose of a parking lot is to park vehicles, and that the injured plaintiff could not argue that he was denied "reasonable" access to his vehicle as a result of the snow and ice.  Before the "Engler" Court's activism, questions of reasonableness were preserved for juries under our Constitution.  Sadly, big money from insurers and the Chamber of Commerce has changed the tenor of the analysis.

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