Tenant gets opportunity to prove that landlord was too slow in responding to ice and snow
In Farmer v. Practical Limited Dividend Housing Association, et al., the injured tenant was allowed to pursue her claim that her landlord did not take reasonable measures in response to a winter storm. Although her claim against the company hired to clear the parking lot was dismissed, she was allowed the opportunity to prove to a jury's satisfaction that the landlord had not met its statutory obligation to make all "common areas...fit for the use intended by the parties." This statutory duty is an exception from the judicially-created premise that a landlord is under no duty to address "open and obvious" dangers.
The Court relied on another judically-created doctrine to dismiss the snow removal contractor from the suit. In Fultz v. Union-Commerce Assoc., the Engler Majority of pro-insurance Justices held that signing a contract to take action with one party eliminated any duty of reasonable care to third-parties other than identified direct beneficiaries. Under the Fultz analysis, if I engage someone to clean my sidewalk, persons using the sidewalk are not "third-party beneficiaries" and the sidewalk cleaner owes these pedestrians no duty to act carefully. Applying this distorted logic to the Farmer case, the Court of Appeals concluded that Farmer could not claim negligence by the contractor.