Woman who fell on leaf-covered sidewalk while entering restaurant cannot sue
In an opinion issued this week, the Court of Appeals held that "a leaf-concealed sidewalk lip was an open and obvious danger" relieving the owner of the restaurant of any duty to alleviate the danger by sweeping leaves or eliminating the "lip." The Court continued: "Casual observation would alert the average individual of the potential danger posed from slipping on the leaves or tripping over something hidden under the leaves." Judge Kirsten Kelly was one of the signatories to the opinion. She should just frankly announce that she doesn't believe in injured persons receiving compensation, regardless of the cause or the prior law.
Now, Michigan landowners not only owe no duty to remove or improve "open and obvious" hazards: they also owe no duty to alleviate hazards in locations where they "potentially" exist. A visitor's failure to appreciate that there is a "potential" hazard constitutes comparative fault that should reduce the visitor's compensation. The hazard, itself, does not thereby become "open and obvious," relieving the landlord's duty to address it. The "open and obvious" exception to a landowner's duty to make his property safe for invitees has literally swallowed the duty itself when what invitees should have recognized as "potential" hazards become "open and obvious" hazards. The case is Anne Clogg v. JNL Ventures, Inc., doing business as Shield's of Warren.