Landlord’s Duty – Open and Obvious Danger

Wallace v. The Housing Authority of the City of Talladega, [Ms. SC-2022-0869, Apr. 14, 2023] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2023). The court (Edwards, J.; Thompson, P.J., and Moore, J., concur; Hanson, J., dissents, which Fridy, J., joins) reverses the Talladega Circuit Court’s summary judgment dismissing Harold Wallace’s negligence claim against The Housing Authority of the City of Talladega (“the Housing Authority”). Wallace, a tenant of the Housing Authority, was injured when he fell down the back stairs of his apartment which did not have handrails. Wallace testified that before his fall, “he had three conversations with employees of the Housing Authority about installing the porch-and-stair railings” and that Housing Authority employees “repeatedly told him that the railings would be reinstalled.” Ms. **5-6.

The circuit court, relying on Daniels v. Wiley, 314 So. 3d 1213 (Ala. 2020), held the lack of stair rails was an open and obvious danger and the Housing Authority had no duty to protect Wallace from it. Ms. *8.

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