MICHAEL J. GUSS AND DAVID B. ROTH OBTAIN SUMMARY DISPOSITION OF SUIT ALLEGING CLAIMS FOR PREMISES LIABILITY, FAILURE TO KEEP COMMON AREA FIT FOR INTENDED USE, FAILURE TO KEEP PREMISES IN REASONABLE REPAIR, AND BREACH OF CONTRACT
Laura Joseph vs. Edward Rose Assoc., LLC, Genesee County Circuit Court, Case No.19-113526-NO, Hon. F. Kay Behm. Plaintiff, a tenant of Defendant apartment complex, brought claims against Defendant under theories of premises liability, failure to keep a common are fit for its intended use under MCL 554.139, failure to keep premises in reasonable repair, and breach of contract. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant was liable after Plaintiff tripped and fell on a landscaping timber located between a common area concrete slab, which abutted a rear entrance of the apartment building, and another tenant’s private patio. After a period of discovery, Defendant filed a motion for summary disposition, seeking dismissal of all of Plaintiff’s claims. Based on Defendant’s briefing, Plaintiff admitted that the open and obvious doctrine barred recovery under Plaintiff’s premises liability theory, and also admitted that the duty to keep premises in reasonable repair was not applicable. However, Plaintiff maintained that the landscaping timber was located in a common area walkway, and that its placement rendered the common area not fit for the use intended by the parties. At oral argument, Defendant argued that Plaintiff tripped and fell when she was attempting to walk across a landscaping timber, which was not in a common area meant for pedestrian travel, but was meant for landscaping purposes. Defendant explained that the intended use of the landscaping timber was to make the area more aesthetically pleasing, and to delineate the transition and height differential between the common area and the private patio. The timber was undamaged, clearly visible, and fit for its purpose as a landscaping timber. The Court agreed with Defendant, finding that Plaintiff was no longer asserting claims for premises liability or failure to keep the premises in reasonable repair. Further, the Court found the landscaping timber was fit for its intended use of landscaping, and as such, there was also no breach of the parties lease agreement or covenant to maintain common areas fit for their intended use. Given the above, the Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary disposition and dismissed Plaintiff’s claims in their entirety.