![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]>
Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Supreme Court of Michigan
October 10, 2000, Argued ; July 3, 2001, Decided ; July 3, 2001, Filed
[**385] [*514] TAYLOR, J.
This premises liability action arises from a fall in a parking lot possessed by defendant. Plaintiff apparently fell after stepping in a pothole in the parking lot. The circuit court granted summary disposition in favor of defendant, but the Court of Appeals reversed, rejecting defendant's position that plaintiff's claim was barred by the "open and obvious danger" doctrine. We reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and [***2] reinstate the judgment of the circuit court. The pothole was open and obvious, and plaintiff has not provided evidence of special aspects of the condition to justify imposing liability on defendant despite the open and obvious nature of the danger.
Plaintiff was walking through a parking lot toward defendant's building to pay a telephone bill when she apparently stepped in a pothole and fell. Plaintiff testified at her deposition that she was not watching the [*515] ground and that she was concentrating on a truck in the parking lot at the time. However, she also testified that nothing would have prevented her from seeing the pothole.
Defendant moved for summary disposition, claiming that the pothole constituted an open and obvious danger from which it had no duty to protect plaintiff. 1 The circuit court granted the motion, stating:
[***3] I am going to take the position that [**386] there is no material question of fact. I think it is quite clear that the lady was walking along without paying proper attention to the circumstances where she was walking, and there is a legal duty to look where you are walking. I can't be anymore precise than that.
The Court of Appeals reversed the grant of summary disposition in a two-to-one decision. The Court of Appeals majority concluded that the circuit court erred in holding that plaintiff's legal duty to look where she was walking barred her claim. The Court stated that, under principles of comparative negligence, a plaintiff's negligence can only reduce the amount of recovery, not eliminate altogether a defendant's liability. The Court also determined that the open and obvious danger rule did not apply because there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether defendant should have expected that a pedestrian might be distracted by the need to avoid a moving vehicle, or might even reasonably step into the pothole to avoid such a vehicle.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
464 Mich. 512 *; 629 N.W.2d 384 **; 2001 Mich. LEXIS 1159 ***
ODIS LUGO, Plaintiff-Appellee, v AMERITECH CORPORATION, INC., Defendant-Appellant.
Subsequent History: [***1] Updated Copy October 26, 2001. As Amended July 11, 2001.
Prior History: Macomb Circuit Court, Raymond R. Cashen, J. Court of Appeals, WAHLS and GAGE, JJ. and SAAD, P.J. (Docket No. 194352).
LUGO v. AMERITECH CORP., 1998 Mich. App. LEXIS 1767 (Mich. Ct. App., June 19, 1998)
Disposition: Judgment of the Court of Appeals reversed and judgment of the circuit court reinstated.
invitees, possessor, obvious danger, pothole, premises, cases, anticipated, unreasonable risk of harm, contributory negligence, reasonable care, unreasonable danger, summary disposition, circumstances, discover, reasonably safe, risk of harm, parking lot, steps, comparative negligence, possessor of land, invitor, no duty, premises liability, standard of care, dangerous condition, trial court, conditions, breached, circuit court, walking
Torts, Duty On Premises, Invitees, General Overview, Premises & Property Liability, General Premises Liability, Dangerous Conditions, Obvious Dangers, Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Materiality of Facts, Opposing Materials, Burdens of Proof, Motions for Summary Judgment