Anderson v. Merkel – Case Brief Summary (Michigan)

In Anderson v. Merkel, 393 Mich 603, 605; 227 NW2d 554 (1975), the plaintiff slipped and fell while walking through a passageway in the defendant's restaurant.

An ice-making machine was located close to the passageway.

There was evidence that ice had spilled from the machine on previous occasions, but there was conflicting testimony regarding whether there was ice on the walkway when the plaintiff fell. Id. at 604.

The trial court found for the defendant, noting that the plaintiff had failed to show that the condition existed for a sufficient length of time to attribute constructive knowledge to the defendant, and this Court affirmed.

The Supreme Court reversed, stating that if there was ice on the floor at the time of the fall, the plaintiff did not have to show that the defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the condition because the defendant had ample notice that ice had been spilled by his employees on prior occasions.

The defendant was not entitled to separate notice on each subsequent occurrence for a condition created by his employees. Id. at 604-605.

The ice was actually spilled by the defendant's employees and because the dangerous condition was caused by the defendant, the plaintiff did not have to prove actual or constructive notice.