Slip-and-fall lawsuits once were a staple for injury attorneys. But they’ve become extremely tough in Michigan courts, due to a strict standard set by the state Supreme Court.
The court’s conservative majority raised the bar last summer in a case involving an Upper Peninsula woman who fell outside a health club in Ironwood. The court said Charlotte Hoffner was aware of the ice and wasn’t forced to enter the club. Four justices said property owners can’t be expected to absolutely ensure everyone’s safety.
As a result, courts across Michigan have more reasons to dismiss slip-and-fall lawsuits. Detroit-area lawyer Mark Bernstein says he’s been forced to turn away clients. He says slip-and-fall cases tied to weather represent just 2 percent of his firm’s work, compared to 20 percent in the 1990s.