The Michigan Supreme Court granted mini-oral argument in Blackwell v Franchi, No. 328929 to consider whether a homeowner owes a duty to warn a guest of a step in a dark room. While attending a dinner party at the Franchis' home, Susan Blackwell went to put her purse in a darkened mud room and fell off an eight inch step upon entry. Before entering the room, Blackwell did not turn on the light. Blackwell filed suit against the Franchis, and the Franchis moved for summary disposition, alleging the step was open and obvious and that the light switch outside the mud room would have illuminated the hazard. The trial court granted the Franchis' motion, but the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the open and obvious doctrine defense does not require guests to turn the lights on and improve visibility of an impending hazard.
To view our previous post on the Court of Appeals’ decision, click here.