Woman, 80, who fell into oil shop pit loses case

The pit below the floor at an oil-change shop is an obvious hazard, the Michigan appeals court said in dismissing a lawsuit from an elderly woman who stepped over the edge and fell.
AP Wire
Jan 15, 2013


The appeals court last week overturned a decision by a Wayne County judge and ruled in favor of Spee-Dee Lube.

Dorothy Urben of Flat Rock, who was 80 at the time, said she wasn't looking down while walking to the waiting room at the business in July 2010. Employees heard a scream and found her in the pit where oil is changed. Paramedics put a brace around her neck and a splint on her leg, and removed her on a backboard.

"I didn't slip on anything, no. I stepped into empty space," Urben said in a deposition.

Urben's lawsuit said the pit was unreasonably dangerous. The appeals court, however, said there were markings and warnings in the garage.

"It is reasonable to expect that an average customer of ordinary intelligence would discover the pit upon casual inspection. The pit created a risk of harm only because plaintiff did not discover the condition or realize its danger," said judges David Sawyer, Henry Saad and Patrick Meter. "Thus, the condition was open and obvious."



While I agree with the court that anyone should see the hole was there; my question would be as to "why" are partrons allowed in that area of the shop where the hole is located..Workers of course are aware of it but soneone who did not work there would not be looking for it..Customers should not be allowed in shop area at all..


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