Premises Liability

Court/Case No: Macomb County Circuit Court/17-230-NO

Tried/Argued Before: Judge

Demand: $250,000.00

Verdict: $0 – Motion for Summary Disposition granted

Name of Judge(s): Honorable James Biernat

Keys to the Case:

Plaintiff filed this premises liability action alleging both common law and statutory claims against the apartment complex and property management company after falling down outside of his apartment. Plaintiff testified that on the morning of his fall, he looked outside of his front door and observed a construction crew removing the cement walkway leading up to his unit. The cement slabs were no longer present and he noted a dirt walkway between his unit and the sidewalk. Hours later, Plaintiff opened his front door again to allow a friend into the apartment.  At that time, Plaintiff again noted that there was only a dirt walkway from his unit. Importantly, Plaintiff’s friend was able to traverse the dirt walkway to gain access to the apartment unit without issue.

Later in the day, Plaintiff’s friend walked back down the dirt walkway unscathed. Plaintiff was not far behind his friend, yet fell down while navigating the walkway. Plaintiff speculated that he fell due to ice, dirt, or tree roots. Following Plaintiff’s fall, his friend walked back up and down the walkway four times within a number of hours without incident. In fact, hours after falling down, Plaintiff himself used the dirt walkway and safely reentered his apartment.

Plaintiff filed this lawsuit seeking damages relating to three surgeries that he claimed to be related to his fall. The apartment complex and property management company sought summary disposition of Plaintiff’s common law and statutory claims on the following grounds: 1) Plaintiff speculated as to the cause of his fall, 2) Plaintiff knew of the condition of the walkway and thus there was no duty owned, 3) alternatively, the condition of the walkway was open and obvious, and 4) the walkway was fit for its intended purpose.

Following oral argument, the court entered an opinion and order granting the Motion for Summary Disposition finding that the condition of the walkway was known to Plaintiff and open and obvious. Further, the court opined that the walkway was fit for its intended purpose as evidenced by the record.

Defense SW attorney(s) Involved in Case: Javon L. Williams

Result Date: 05/09/2018
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