Open and Obvious Danger Doctrine

In Bertrand v. Alan Ford, Inc, 449 Mich 606; 537 NW2d 185 (1995), the Supreme Court applied the open and obvious danger doctrine to steps. The Court stated: In summary, because steps are the type of everyday occurrence that people encounter, under most circumstances, a reasonably prudent person will look where he is going, will observe the steps, and will take appropriate care for his own safety. Under ordinary circumstances, the overriding public policy of encouraging people to take reasonable care for their own safety precludes imposing a duty on the possessor of land to make ordinary steps "foolproof." Therefore, the risk of harm is not unreasonable. However, where there is something unusual about the steps because of their "character, location, or surrounding conditions," then the duty of the possessor of land to exercise reasonable care remains. If the proofs create a question of fact that the risk of harm was unreasonable, the existence of duty as well as breach become questions for the jury to decide. Id. at 616-617.