Plaintiff, a cruise line passenger, slipped and fell while
climbing an outdoor staircase aboard the defendant cruise line’s
vessel. Persistent rain throughout the day had caused the ship’s
outside staircase to become wet. The plaintiff sued the cruise
line for negligence.
McAlpin Conroy argued the wet staircase was an open and obvious
condition. As such, the cruise line had no duty to warn the
plaintiff that the staircase might be wet. The Court agreed,
because a reasonable person in the plaintiff’s position would
have perceived the rainy conditions through the ordinary use of
their senses, and would have concluded the staircase would be
wet and therefore, possibly slippery.
Record evidence also showed the cruise line had no actual or
constructive knowledge of a potentially risky condition posed by
the wet staircase. Even though there was a permanent “slippery
when wet” sign at the nearby shuffleboard court, McAlpin Conroy
successfully argued this was not applicable to the wet stairs.
on this analysis, the Court found that as a matter of law the
cruise line was not negligent, and granted summary judgment in
favor of McAlpin Conroy’s client.