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Trip over curb is "open and obvious."

The Court of Appeals dismissed about the thirtieth consecutive premises liability case this week.  Mark Schimanski tripped over a raised concrete curb walking into the Squad Three Ventures' "Engine House" in Macomb County.   He alleged that the curb was a hazard which should have been cured by the owners and that it was not open and obvious to a casual observer because the ridge was unpainted and "because there was not contrast between it and the concrete that would give it height, depth, or conspicuity."  The trial judge said it was nevertheless "open and obvious" on casual observation and dismissed, and the Court of Appeals made short work of affirming the dismissal.  The Court encountered no difficulty applying an "Engler Majority" rule that regularly relieves landowners of the duty to erect stairway handrails, provide adequate lighting, or to repair and maintain carpeting, stairways and sidewalks.  We wonder why we even bother to buy homeowner liability insurance coverage, given that the odds of encountering a valid liability claim are about 1,000 to one.

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