Welcome to The Briefcase

Commentary and analysis of Ohio criminal law and whatever else comes to mind, served with a dash of snark.  Continue Reading »

×

May 22, 2006

No sympathy for the plaintiffs, an 80-plus-year-old couple, who tripped and fell while trying to negotiate a snowpile in front of a Denny's restaurant. As we all know, one of the hazards of living in Ohio - besides enduring botched elections and botched executions - is being left without anyone to sue for a fall on ice or snow. Of course, that only applies to a "natural accumulation of ice and snow," leaving a potential remedy for those whose falls are occasioned by unnatural accumulations.  That was the question in Dunbar v. Denny's Rest.:  the parking lot had been plowed, and the plowing company piled up the snow up in front of the handicapped entrance. The elderly couple argued that the restaurant and the snow-plowing company "were negligent in creating a dangerous condition when [they] altered the natural accumulation of ice and snow by plowing the parking lot so as to create an unnatural mound of snow in front of the restaurant handicap ramp entrance."

The court wasn't buying. Noting prior decisions which had held that "when snow and ice are piled up by plowing or shoveling and then thaw and refreeze, the resulting ice is a natural accumulation," the court found that the ridge of ice and snow at the entrance to the handicapped ramp was an open and obvious hazard. If I were somewhat more enterprising, I might look up how the Americans with Disabilities Act might affect this situation.

The court deferred for another day resolution of whether the food at Denny's constitutes an open and obvious hazard.

Search

Recent Entries

  • June 28, 2017
    Plea Bargaining -- The defendant's view
    A look at the Supreme Court's decision last week in Lee v. United States
  • June 27, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A worrisome decision on expert funding, and, mirabile dictu, a court's dismissal of a case for a discovery violation is upheld
  • June 23, 2017
    Crime and the First Amendment
    Facebook and sex offenders, and encouraging someone to kill himself
  • June 20, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    I come a cropper, plus inventory searches and mandatory probation
  • June 19, 2017
    Case Update - SCOTUS
    What's coming up in the US Supreme Court in the next two weeks
  • June 12, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    After weeks in the desert, we come upon an oasis of defense wins
  • June 7, 2017
    A switch in time
    Why what the Supreme Court did in Aalim II and Gonzales II is a bad thing
  • June 6, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A turnabout on prior calculation and design, and harmless error in all its manifestations
  • June 5, 2017
    Case Update
    A death penalty case, fourteen years after the crime, and we're just getting started. And two appellate decisions on search and seizure.
  • May 31, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    "What's a law enforcement accountability activist?" asked someone never, but the answer is here. Plus, cell phone experts, joinder, and the fading glory that was State v. Hand.