The Michigan appeals court says a bank can’t be blamed for a crash that occurred when a confused driver went the wrong way in suburban Detroit.
According to facts stated within the appeal, Frank Scola was just 7-years-old when he was involved in a head-on collision on June 27, 2003. The plaintiff was riding in the middle seat of a station wagon driven by his mother, Kathleen Scola (Kathleen). Driving southbound on Wayne Road and intending to head east on Michigan Avenue, Kathleen realized that she accidentally drove through the intersection with Michigan Avenue. In this area of downtown Wayne, Michigan Avenue splits into two one-way roads – a city block divides the two. Kathleen turned into a bank parking lot owned by Chase Bank on Wayne Road, and exited it by turning right onto the one-way, westbound portion of Michigan Avenue. She was involved in a head-on collision with a car traveling westbound on Michigan Avenue.
Frank sustained serious injuries in the accident and filed a lawsuit in 2015 against the bank, asserting the defendants were negligent in that they had a duty to maintain their parking lot in a safe condition for public travel, but failed to do so because there were no signs warning drivers exiting their parking lot that the intersecting roadway, Michigan Avenue, was a one-way westbound road, although it was foreseeable that drivers would turn in the wrong direction and into oncoming traffic
In a 2-1 decision last week, the appeals court says an “average person with ordinary intelligence” should have noticed the one-way stretch of Michigan Avenue.
In dissent, Judge Mark Cavanagh says Scola’s son had presented “sufficient evidence” that the bank did nothing to ease the risk.
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