John M. Kirby
Overton v. Evans Logging
In this case, the plaintiff operated a logging truck. He was hauling logs from a location controlled by the defendants. He had to either get or deliver documents to a person at the site. In order to reach this person, he had to walk through an area of logs and other debris. During this process he fell, and sustained injuries. He sued the defendants, and his case was dismissed on the basis that the conditions were “open and obvious.”
On appeal, the court acknowledged the general principle that a person who falls over an open-and-obvious condition cannot recover. There is, however, an exception to this general rule where the landowner should nevertheless anticipate that a person will get injured, even though the condition is open and obvious. In this case, the Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiff had no alternative path to deliver (or retrieve) the documents, and that whether he was contributorily negligent had to be resolved through further proceedings (and not on the face of the complaint).