A slip-and-fall lawsuit plaintiff recently was handed a victory by the Alabama Supreme Court, which ruled the case should be remanded for trial because the defendant, in this case a restaurant, failed to prove the hazard in question was open and obvious.
Even though this is an out-of-state case, the open and obvious doctrine is a pretty universal one in most states when it comes to premises liability law and slip-and-fall cases in particular. The open and obvious defense is an exception to the duty of care owed by property owners which requires that they use reasonable care to shield or warn lawful visitors from dangerous conditions. If the danger is open and obvious, it is presumed the visitor will take reasonable care to avoid it and protect themselves. There is no duty to warn of a condition that is obvious.
In the recent slip-and-fall case out of Alabama, the court examined the details of an injury suffered by the patron of a fast-food restaurant, cast in the light most favorable to plaintiff, who was appealing an earlier summary judgment in favor of defendant. Continue reading →