Woman who tumbled down dark stairway while seeking bathroom cannot sue
Lorna Schlecht attended a memorial for her ex-husband at the home of David and Suzanne Doom. While in the house of Doom, she passed through the laundry room and opened another doorway thinking it was the bathroom. It wasn't. She fell down the bathroom stairway suffering injury and filed a lawsuit alleging violation of building codes and negligence. The defendants' insurer appealed when the lower court refused to dismiss Schlecht's case.
On appeal, the court held that since Schlecht took a step into the dark doorway while seeking the light switch, she had not encountered a "hidden" danger and summary disposition should have been granted. The Court of Appeals agreed and dismissed her claim. It ruled that despite evidence that the doorway violated residential and building codes, the homeowners could not be held accountable because an objective person in Schlecht's position would not have taken the step into the doorway without perceiving the location of the stairway.