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Opinion Date: 06/26/2001
e-Journal Date: 06/28/2001
Full Text Opinion

Practice Area(s):   Negligence & Intentional Tort

Issues: Premises liability; Duty of premises owners concerning criminal acts of third parties; Scope of merchants’ duty to respond; No duty to provide security personnel; Mason v. Royal Dequindre
Court: Michigan Supreme Court
Case Name: MacDonald v. PKT, Inc.
e-Journal Number: 10707
Judge(s): Young, Jr., Corrigan, Weaver, Taylor, and Markman; Dissent - Cavanagh and Kelly

The court held that the scope of premises owners' duty to respond concerning criminal acts of third parties is limited to reasonably expediting the involvement of the police, and reaffirmed that merchants are not required to provide security personnel or otherwise resort to self help to address such occurrences. Plaintiffs in these consolidated cases were injured when patrons threw sod at outdoor concerts held at Pine Knob. Clarifying the duty articulated in Mason, the court held that the duty is triggered by specific acts occurring on the premises that pose a risk of imminent and foreseeable harm to an identifiable invitee, and that only a present situation on the premises, not any past incidents, creates the duty to respond. The Court of Appeals erred in the MacDonald case by relying on incidents previous to the day in question as a basis for concluding that sod throwing was "foreseeable". Since in both cases defendants already had police at the concert, they fully discharged their duty to respond and were properly granted summary disposition by the trial courts in both cases. The Court of Appeals was reversed in MacDonald and affirmed in Lowry. The dissent would have denied summary disposition so that a jury could determine whether (1) the sod throwing was foreseeable, (2) the plaintiffs were identifiable invitees, and (3) defendant took reasonable measures to protect its invitees from the harm.

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