Woman cannot sue governmental owner after apartment stairway railing broke free from wall causing fall and fractures
Senetta Elaine Walthall attempted to sue the Flint Housing Commission after she fell on her apartment's back stairs. She fell and suffered multiple fractures after the hand railing pulled out of the wall. The Court noted that the Housing Commission is a governmentally-owned enterprise and therefore immune from liability unless a statutory exception is identified. Walthall's attorneys argued that the public building exception should apply, however, the Court of Appeals pointed to recent decisions of the Michigan judiciary which have limited the application of that exception to buildings "held open to the public." In particular, the judges pointed to a recent ruling that a person injured in a university dormitory could not argue that they were hurt in a "public building," and thus, neither could Walthall.