Extremely open and obvious

When Wayne Bailey’s teen-aged son ran away from home, Bailey called the Oakland County sheriff.

The sheriff’s department sent Deputy Dominick Spadafore to the scene. It was a cold December night. A narrow path shoveled through the snow led from Bailey’s driveway, up a step to the porch and then to Bailey’s front door.

Spadafore followed the path, went inside and talked things over with Bailey for a half-hour or so.

Okay, you can see this one coming from a mile away: Spadafore finished his conversation with Bailey and headed back to his patrol car. As Spadafore stepped from the porch to the step leading down from it, he slipped, fell and was injured.

The circuit court said the conditions were open and obvious and dismissed Spadafore’s premises liability claim.

The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed for all the usual reasons: Spadafore saw the conditions as he made his way into Bailey’s home. The same conditions were present when he left. Spadafore admitted the weather conditions were such that snow would melt in sunlight and then freeze after sunset.

“Under these circumstances, a reasonable person in Spadafore’s position would have been able to discover the condition and take self-preserving precautions,” the COA panel ruled.

And there was one other circumstance that put the — ahem — icing — on the cake as far as dismissing the case based on Spadafore’s awareness of the conditions outside Bailey’s house.

During their half-hour talk, Bailey told Spadafore that his son ran away after being asked to shovel the driveway, step and porch, and to spread some salt.

The case is Spadafore v. Bailey.