Restaurant Not Responsible to Injury to Patron from fall from raised platform where table was located

Before a business owner can be held responsible for injuries to a customer for defects in the premises, the customer has to show that the business owner breached a duty of "reasonable care" to the customer.   As developed by case decisions, the law in Ohio is that a business owner does not have to eliminate or warn about a hazard that is open and obvious.   Under Ohio law, the customer is required to protect himself from dangers that are so obvious that the customer should have discovered them.   The customer does not have to observe the condition, but the test is whether the conditions were obervable.

The only exception to this is if there were some circumstances that would have reasonably diverted the person from discovering the danger.  These circumstances can be distracting surroundings or a particular visual  obstruction of the defect.

In a recent case decided by the Court of Appeals from Lake County, the court ruled that a Red Robin Restaurant was not liable to an elderly patron when the restaurant's employees seated her in a booth located on a raised platform.  The elderly woman and her son-in-law dined there for about an hour and a half.  When the woman got up to leave she forgot about the step, fell, and was injured.  The court found that the raised platform was an open and obvious condition and that there were no circumstances that would excuse the woman from discovering the danger.  The woman argued that due to her age, she should not have been seated there. Her case was dismissed.

To learn more about this case and read the court's decision, click here.