Trip and fall claims are a common risk for property owners. In Minnesota, property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care for all entrants, but that duty is limited when a potentially dangerous condition is open and obvious to a reasonable person.
In Homick v. Hellem, Deborah Eckland defended Defendant Bozena Hellem against such a trip-and-fall claim brought against her as the 30-year owner of an apartment building. The plaintiff tripped on a visibly uneven slab of concrete in broad daylight, and sued for his alleged injuries. Ms. Hellem moved for summary judgment to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims as a matter of law because the slab of concrete was so open and obvious that no warning was necessary. As the refrain goes, nobody needs warning of what they know or should reasonably be expected to know. The court agreed and granted summary judgment in Ms. Hellem’s favor, adding that plaintiff should have watched his step in order to prevent his injuries.
Unhappy with the result, plaintiff has filed the case with the Court of Appeals.