Snow and Ice Removal: A Must for Michigan Businesses Post Supreme Court Ruling

Snow and Ice Removal: A Must for Michigan Businesses Post Supreme Court Ruling

Understanding the New Legal Landscape

In July 2023, the Michigan Supreme Court overturned the open and obvious doctrine, significantly altering the state's premises liability law. This landmark decision emphasizes the duty of property owners to ensure the safety of their premises, making it crucial for businesses to reassess their snow and ice removal strategies.

The Implications for Michigan Businesses

With the abolishment of the open and obvious doctrine, Michigan businesses are now more accountable for accidents occurring on their property due to inadequate snow and ice removal. This shift places a greater emphasis on proactive and thorough maintenance to prevent slip and fall accidents, a common hazard during Michigan's harsh winters.

Enhanced Snow and Ice Removal Protocols

Businesses must now adopt more rigorous snow and ice removal routines. This involves regular monitoring of weather conditions, timely and effective clearing of snow, and the application of ice-melting agents. It's not just about clearing pathways but ensuring that parking lots, sidewalks, and entryways are consistently maintained to prevent accidents.

Reducing Liability and Protecting Patrons

Effective snow and ice management is essential in reducing liability risks. By ensuring that their premises are safe, businesses not only protect themselves from potential lawsuits but also demonstrate a commitment to the safety of their customers and employees. This can enhance their reputation and customer trust.

Collaboration with Snow Removal Services

Many businesses may find it beneficial to collaborate with professional snow removal services. These services can provide the expertise and resources needed for effective snow and ice management. Additionally, businesses should review their contracts with these services to ensure that they align with the new legal requirements.


The Michigan Supreme Court's decision marks a significant change in premises liability law. Michigan businesses must respond by enhancing their snow and ice removal practices. Doing so not only aligns with legal obligations but also reflects a commitment to public safety, potentially saving businesses from costly litigation and preserving their reputation in the community.

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