Premises Liability – Open and Obvious Defense – Blind Plaintiff

Owens v. Ganga Hospitality, LLC, [Ms. 1200449, Oct. 29, 2021] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2021). The Court (Sellers, J.; Bolin, Wise, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Parker, C.J., concurs in part and concurs in the result) affirms the Montgomery Circuit Court’s summary judgment dismissing Janene Owens’s negligence and wantonness claims against a hotel. Janene, who describes herself as blind, fell over a concrete platform painted red in clear contrast to the surrounding area. Ms. *2. The Court cites settled law that “[t]here is no duty to remedy, or to warn about, open and obvious hazards. Dolgencorp, Inc. v. Taylor, 28 So. 3d 737, 742 (Ala. 2009).” Ms. *6. And holds that Janene’s visual impairment does not impose on the hotel a duty to remedy or to warn her about open and obvious hazards. The Court explains

There are a number of ways a person with Owens’s level of visual impairment could be injured by alleged hazards that are otherwise open and obvious and, in fact, pose almost no danger at all to people with normal vision. Deciding whether an allegedly dangerous condition is open and obvious based on the point of view of a blind plaintiff might transform premises owners into insurers against all injuries suffered by people with significant visual impairment, no matter how harmless the condition is to people without that impairment.

Ms. *11.

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