Woman cannot sue after fall down commercial stairway that violated building code
Irene Kahler sued Rent-A-Center and its landlord after she fell down the entryway steps of the store. Her suit claimed that the stairway violated the International Building Code because it lack a handrail, and that the lack of a handrail caused her fall. The trial court ruled that the IBC, even though adopted by law in MCL 125.1504(2), created no legal duty by the landlord or commercial entity to comply with its rules.On appeal, the Court of Appeals explicitly recognized that the objective of this legislation was to insure adequate maintenance of buildings and to protect the health, safety and welfare of the state's citizens, yet it ruled that the statute did not create a legal duty in the store--or its landlord--to comply with the code. It ruled that the lack of a handrail was an "open and obvious" hazard, and that, in essence, the patron had assumed the risk of injury by entering the store through the defective stairway. This is what happens when the Chamber of Commerce has too much influence in the selection of judges.