Out-of-Possession Landlord Not Liable for Injury to Tenant’s Employee
What Happened: The employee of a tenant suffered serious injury after a heavy box fell on top of him. The victim blamed the accident on the leaky warehouse roof, which caused the box to become waterlogged and weakened the palette holding it up. He sued the landlord for negligence. His theory: As an invitee, the landlord owed him a duty of reasonable care.
Ruling: The Michigan appeals court upheld the lower court’s decision to toss the case without a trial.
Explanation: The duty of reasonable care to protect third parties from hazards found on the property is based not on ownership but possession and control of the property. Having leased the warehouse to the tenant, the landlord had neither possession nor control and thus wasn’t legally responsible for failing to repair the leaky roof.
- Lavalais v. Pointe Inv., 2022 Mich. App. LEXIS 838