|Jury Must Consider If a Hazard Was Open and Obvious to Invitee on Property|
Appeals court held that it is for a jury to determine if a hazard is open and obvious to an invitee, in which case there is no duty to warn, or if a hazard that was involved in a fall is unreasonably dangerous.
|Topic||Real and Personal Property|
Premises Liability; Slip and fall; Hazard; Duty to Warn
|C A S E S U M M A R Y|
Wood was a passenger in a car that pulled into the entrance at Bally’s Casino. Between the lanes in front of the casino were rows of reflectors, each two by four inches wide and five-eights of an inch high. The reflectors were to keep the traffic lanes clearly separated. Wood stepped out of the car and tripped on a reflector, fell, and suffered an injury. She sued, contending the reflectors were unreasonably dangerous to an invitee to the casino. Bally’s contended that the reflectors were obvious, so they were not negligent for using them. The trial court granted summary judgment for Bally’s; Wood appealed.
Reversed and remanded. Under Mississippi law, it is a question of fact as to whether the reflectors were unreasonably dangerous and whether they were an open and obvious hazard. That is a matter for the jury to determine. As an invitee, Wood was owed a duty of care by Bally’s. One has a duty to warn of dangers that are not open and obvious if the premises are not reasonably safe; if the hazard is open and obvious, there is no duty to warn.
Wood v. RIH Acquisitions MS II, LLC, 556 F.3d 274 (5th Cir., 2009)
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