Judge dismisses lawsuit on basis of “open and obvious”

Tuesday December 18, 2018

Mary Lambert v Handelsman, Inc. d/b/a Better Health Market

Samantha Boyd handled this case and before she went on maternity leave she prepared a Motion for Summary Disposition, which was argued by Maxwell Sanders in the Macomb County Circuit Court before Judge Joseph Toia. Defendant’s Motion argued that Plaintiff’s premises liability claim regarding a slip and fall accident in a grocery store was barred by the open and obvious doctrine. Specifically, Defendant argued that the puddle Plaintiff slipped in could have been observed upon casual inspection. To prove this point, Defendant relied upon Plaintiff’s testimony that indicated after she fell, the puddle she allegedly slipped in had left her wet from her face and hair to the entirety of the front of her body. Defendant also relied upon the testimony of the store manager who stated that he observed the puddle upon coming to Plaintiff’s aid. Further, Defendant argued that summary disposition was appropriate because it did not have actual or constructive knowledge of the puddle at the time of the incident. To prove that Defendant did not know, and had no reason to know, that there was a puddle in this location, the depositions of three separate store employees were taken. Defendant relied on this testimony as well as Plaintiff’s own testimony to craft this defense. Ultimately, Judge Toia was persuaded by Defendant’s arguments and granted its Motion for Summary Disposition, holding that Plaintiff had failed to present evidence to establish that Defendant breached its duty.

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