Thanks to a new law signed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder yesterday, bowling alleys will now have an even easier time avoiding the civil justice system under certain circumstances. Under the new law, formerly Senate Bill 281, individuals who wear bowling shoes outdoors and then return inside will not be able to seek legal recourse if they slip and suffer an injury – even if the bowling alley is otherwise negligent. As long as the owner or operator posts a “conspicuous notice,” the bowling alley cannot be held accountable for “a slip, trip, stumble, or fall[.]”
Fortunately, the law (which is strangely characterized as a “safety” measure) seems to apply in relatively narrow circumstances, although later court interpretations may result in some expansion. Even so, the newly granted immunity removes some incentive for bowling alley operators to make sure the areas immediately inside and outside their entryways are safe. Michigan law already provides a formidable defense, known as the open and obvious doctrine, to protect landowners from liability in trip-and-fall cases. In addition, a jury is permitted to consider the comparative negligence of the injured person when determining whether to award damages. Yet it appears our lawmakers felt the need to pass another law making it harder for injured victims of negligence to seek fair and reasonable compensation through the civil justice system.
Your right to a civil trial by jury is constantly being threatened. Be sure to contact your state representative and state senator today and tell them to stop protecting corporations at the expense of ordinary people.
Growing up in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nolan Erickson began working at Church Wyble PC in 2007 as a law clerk. Now as an attorney, Mr. Erickson has developed extensive experience with all phases of trial and pre-trial resolution of personal injury matters, including major auto accident, medical malpractice, and other serious injury cases.