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155120 - Estate of Hendrix v Lautrec, Ltd

Celestine Stacker, Personal Representative of the Estate of Mae Hendrix,

 

Melissa Stewart

Steven Karfis

 

Plaintiff-Appellee,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Oakland – Nichols, R.)

 

Lautrec, Ltd.,

 

Sidney Klinger

 

Defendant-Appellant.

 

Summary

Plaintiff’s decedent, Mae Hendrix, lived in an apartment owned by defendant. She slipped and fell on a driveway that was a common area used by tenants to access their apartments. Plaintiff sued defendant, alleging common law premises liability and breach of MCL 554.139(1)(a). The trial court granted summary disposition in favor of defendant. The Court of Appeals, in a split unpublished opinion, reversed the dismissal of the statutory claim. The Court of Appeals majority held that the driveway was akin to a sidewalk, and, instead of applying Allison v AEW Capital Mgt, LLP, 481 Mich 419 (2008), it applied Benton v Dart Props, Inc, 270 Mich App 437 (2006), concluding that plaintiff had established a genuine issue of material fact whether defendant breached its duty under MCL 554.139(1)(a). The Supreme Court has ordered oral argument on defendant’s application for leave to appeal to address whether genuine issues of material fact preclude summary disposition on plaintiff’s claim that the driveway was not “fit for the use intended by the parties.”  MCL 554.139(1)(a). ​