We granted leave to consider a premises owner's duty to warn invitees of known or obvious dangers and to determine (1) whether the trial court correctly instructed the jury that, pursuant to SJI2d 19.03, a premises owner must warn an invitee of known or obvious dangers; and (2) whether the jury instruction on violation of a safety regulation pursuant to SJI2d 12.05 constituted error requiring reversal. We conclude that the jury instructions given do not accurately set out the duty of a premises owner. Accordingly, we reverse the decisions of the lower courts and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Plaintiff Vance Riddle has worked with or around coils of steel for over seventeen years. At the time of his accident, Riddle was employed with W.T. Cartage Manufacturing Company as a truck driver and steel and general freight hauler.
In 1983, Riddle began hauling steel coils from defendant McLouth Steel's Trenton plant to its Gibraltar plant on a daily basis. Prior to Gibraltar plant delivery, the steel coils are treated to prevent rusting in a process called "pickling." Under this process, cold rolled steel is unrolled and covered with oil. The steel coils are then rerolled and placed on racks in a coil field
As a consequence of the "pickling" process, oil drips and accumulates on the plant floor creating slippery conditions. There are no signs posted at the Gibraltar plant warning of the slippery conditions. While there are designated walkways around the coil field, there are no signs prohibiting McLouth employees from walking through the coil field. Sometimes the accumulated oil remains on the floor for six to eight weeks.
On January 19, 1984, the date of his injury, Vance Riddle and another truck driver, Charles Pfeiffer, were engaged in loading and unloading treated steel coils at the Gibraltar plant. Riddle was asked by a McLouth employee to deliver a box of computer billing cards to McLouth's receiving clerk's office before leaving for the Trenton plant. After unloading their trucks, Riddle and Pfeiffer cut across the coil field to the clerk's office. Evidence submitted at trial indicated that the path that Riddle and Pfeiffer took through the coil field was the most direct route to the clerk's office. Although steel coils were being stored in the coil field about thirty feet from their path, both Riddle and Pfeiffer testified that they did not realize the area through which they walked contained oil. Moreover, Riddle and Pfeiffer testified that they had observed a McLouth employee cleaning the area earlier in the day. While crossing the coil field, Riddle suddenly lost his balance and fell backward. His hard hat flew off and he hit his head on one of the metal rails and lost consciousness. Riddle sustained severe injuries, including a cerebral concussion, injury to the left shoulder and elbow, and back strain.
The jury awarded Vance Riddle $4,680,000, and Lucinda Riddle $320,000 for loss of consortium, but reduced the award after it found Vance Riddle thirty percent comparatively negligent. After trial, McLouth filed motions for a directed verdict, for a new trial, or remittitur. The trial court denied all motions. McLouth then filed a motion for reconsideration, which was also denied.
We granted leave by order dated March 27, 1991. 437 Mich. 929.
It is well settled in Michigan that a premises owner must maintain his or her property in a reasonably safe condition and has a duty to exercise due care to protect invitees from conditions that might result in injury.
However, a premises owner's duty to warn extends to hidden or latent defects. Samuelson v Cleveland Iron Mining Co, 49 Mich. 164; 13 NW 499 (1882). The rationale underlying this rule is that liability for injuries resulting from defectively maintained premises should rest upon the one who is in control or possession of the premises and, thus, is best able to prevent the injury. See Nezworski v Mazanec, 301 Mich. 43, 56; 2 N.W.2d 912 (1942); Smith v Peninsular Car Works, 60 Mich. 501, 504; 27 NW 662 (1886). This Court has held:
Later cases carried this proposition forward. In Caniff v Blanchard Navigation Co, 66 Mich. 638; 33 NW 744 (1887), the plaintiff fell through an open hatch on a ship being docked for the winter.
Similarly, in Nezworski v Mazanec, supra, the plaintiff sued for injuries sustained when she descended a darkened stairway on the defendant's premises.
This Court adopted the definition provided in 2 Restatement Torts, 2d, § 343 of the general legal duty that a premises owner owes an invitee. In Ackerberg v Muskegon Osteopathic Hosp, 366 Mich. 596, 600; 115 N.W.2d 290 (1962), we held:
The plaintiff in Ackerberg sustained severe head injuries after falling from an unguarded rear platform at the entrance of the defendant's premises. This Court found that, despite the plaintiff's contributory negligence, there was a question of fact regarding the defendant's negligence that was appropriate for jury consideration, and reversed the directed verdict for the defendant.
In Quinlivan v Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co, Inc, 395 Mich. 244; 235 N.W.2d 732 (1975), we affirmed Ackerberg and adopted the revised § 343 and subsections (b) and (c), which further define a premises owner's duty to invitees. 2 Restatement Torts, 2d, § 343 reads in full:
Quinlivan overruled existing case law which held that a premises owner owed no duty to a business invitee regarding obvious hazards arising from natural accumulations of ice and snow. We held that "[a]s such duty pertains to ice and snow accumulations, it will require that reasonable measures be taken...." Quinlivan at 261.
Further, we noted the standard outlined in 2 Restatement Torts, 2d, § 343A, whereby the invitee's knowledge of dangerous conditions may be properly considered in determining a premises owner's liability. Williams, supra at 500, n 12. 2 Restatement Torts, 2d, § 343A(1) provides:
The Court of Appeals incorrectly determined that the "no duty to warn of open and obvious danger" rule is inconsistent with comparative negligence and should be abolished. 182 Mich.App. 266. The adoption of comparative negligence in Michigan does not abrogate the necessity of an initial finding that the premises owner owed a duty to invitees. Moreover, we find that the duty element and the comparative negligence standard are fundamentally exclusive — two doctrines to be utilized at different junctures in the determination of liability in a negligence cause of action.
The threshold issue of the duty of care in negligence actions must be decided by the trial court as a matter of law. Antcliff v State Employees Credit Union, 414 Mich. 624; 327 N.W.2d 814 (1982). In other words, the court determines the circumstances that must exist in order for a defendant's duty to arise. Smith v Allendale Mut Ins Co, 410 Mich. 685, 714-715; 303 N.W.2d 702 (1981). See, generally, Prosser & Keeton, Torts (5th ed), ch 5. Duty may be established "specifically by mandate of statute, or it may arise generally by operation of law under application of the basic rule of the common law, which imposes on every person engaged in the prosecution of any undertaking an obligation to use due care, or to so govern his actions as not to unreasonably endanger the person or property of others." Clark v Dalman, 379 Mich. 251, 261; 150 N.W.2d 755 (1967).
Moreover, the "no duty to warn of open and obvious danger" rule is a defensive doctrine that
Once a defendant's legal duty is established, the reasonableness of the defendant's conduct under that standard is generally a question for the jury. See Smith v Allendale, supra at 714. The jury must decide whether the defendant breached the legal duty owed to the plaintiff, that the defendant's breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries, and thus, that the defendant is negligent.
If, for example, the dangerous conditions on the premises are hidden or latent, the premises owner is obliged to warn the invitee of the dangers. Defendant's failure to warn under these circumstances may indicate a breach of the legal duty
We find persuasive the analysis of the Illinois Supreme Court in Ward v K mart Corp, 136 Ill.2d 132; 554 N.E.2d 223 (1990). In Ward, the plaintiff sustained injuries when he walked into a concrete post while leaving the defendant's department store. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the judgment notwithstanding the jury's verdict for the defendant and found that the defendant's duty to exercise reasonable care extended to invitees even when the conditions are as obvious as a concrete post in the entryway.
Considering the plaintiff's negligence in relation to the defendant's duty, the Ward court held:
Initially we reject plaintiff's argument that the adoption of comparative negligence in this State has affected the basic duty a landowner or occupier owes to entrants upon his land with respect to such conditions. Some courts and commentators have apparently embraced the position taken by plaintiff in this respect.... The primary justification for this approach is the proposition that a consequence of the adoption of comparative negligence is the elimination of those common law devices which act as absolute bars to recovery. We find this argument unpersuasive.
... In the present case, however, we are not so much concerned with the defenses available to defendant, but rather with the existence of a duty on the part of defendant in the first instance. In a common law negligence action, before a plaintiff's fault can be compared with that of the defendant, it obviously must first be determined that the defendant was negligent. It is fundamental tort law that before a defendant can be found to have been negligent, it must first be determined that the defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff.... We hold therefore that the adoption of comparative negligence in this State has no effect on the basic duty a defendant owes to a plaintiff. [Id. at 143-145.]
In light of the above discussion, we hold that the
On appeal, McLouth argued that the trial court inappropriately instructed the jury pursuant to SJI2d 19.03. The following instruction was given:
McLouth also claims that the jury instruction pursuant to SJI2d 12.05 constituted error requiring reversal.
The trial court instructed the jury as follows:
McLouth contends that Riddle's theory of negligence did not include violation of a regulation and
The trial judge incorrectly instructed the jury with regard to the duty of a premises owner to invitees. The Court of Appeals mistakenly concluded that the "no duty to warn of open and obvious dangers" has been abolished in Michigan. The decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for a new trial.
BRICKLEY, BOYLE, RILEY, and GRIFFIN, JJ., concurred with MALLETT, J.
LEVIN, J. (dissenting).
Vance Riddle, a truck driver, was severely injured when he slipped and fell on oil that had dripped from steel coils stored in a "coil field" at a McLouth Steel Products Corporation plant. The issues tried to the jury were whether McLouth breached the standard of care to be observed by a premises owner to Riddle, an invitee, and whether any negligence of McLouth was a cause of Riddle's injury or, rather, whether Riddle's injury was due to Riddle's negligence in failing to take adequate precautions as he
There was no issue concerning the sufficiency of the evidence of McLouth's fault, or of Riddle's possible contributory fault. The majority reverses the trial court and the Court of Appeals, stating that there was an instructional omission of such importance that a new trial is required even though the trial judge instructed in accordance with a standard jury instruction — clearly applicable on the facts of the case — and the omission found by this Court to be lurking in the instruction was not perceived by McLouth's counsel at the trial level. The omission was observed and asserted for the first time on appeal in the Court of Appeals. Even then the omission was not spelled out by McLouth as this Court expresses it. Nevertheless the majority concludes that the omission was of such significance that it would be manifestly unjust to allow the judgment for Riddle to stand.
The jury was instructed pursuant to SJI2d 19.03 that McLouth was under an obligation to warn Riddle of dangers of which McLouth knew or created. Since McLouth stored the steel coils in the coil field, and McLouth claims that the danger of oil dripping from the coils onto the coil field should have been known and obvious to Riddle, there clearly was ample evidence that McLouth, who stored the coils and thereby created the danger, both created and knew of the danger. The instruction was therefore clearly an appropriate instruction on the facts of this case. A failure to so
The majority concludes that the judge erred reversibly in instructing the jury, in the language of SJI2d 19.03 — an owner of premise "`must warn the invitee of dangers of which it knows or has created'" — because the "instruction left the jury with the impression" that McLouth, as a premises owner, had "an absolute duty to warn invitees of dangers which are known and obvious"
To be sure, the court did not qualify the statement that the possessor must warn the invitee of "dangers of which [it] knows or has created," by adverting to the possibility that a danger, known or created by McLouth, might have also been known and obvious to Riddle. It cannot properly be said, however, that because the judge did not advert to that possibility, he left the jury with the impression that McLouth had a duty to warn Riddle of dangers that were known and obvious to him.
McLouth did not object to the SJI2d 19.03 instruction on the basis that the instruction would
McLouth contended in its brief in the Court of Appeals that the judge should have added that "the duty to warn is not absolute, and the jury
The Court of Appeals, ignoring that McLouth had not sought to have the jury advised of the abstraction set forth in McLouth's brief on appeal, held that the adoption of comparative negligence superseded any need to instruct on invitee negligence in ignoring a known and obvious danger.
There is no need, however, to commit error to correct the asserted error of the Court of Appeals. Even if the Court of Appeals erred concerning the effect of the adoption of comparative negligence on any need to instruct concerning an open and obvious danger,
McLouth submitted a requested instruction No. 32
Even if one accepts the majority's premise that the SJI2d 19.03 instruction was deficient in failing to add that McLouth was not under an obligation to warn of dangers known and obvious to Riddle, such an added instruction would not be accurate unless it included the concepts that the danger was known or obvious to Riddle only if the jury so finds, and that, even if the jury so finds, McLouth might nevertheless be subject to liability to Riddle if the jury also finds that McLouth should have anticipated the harm despite such knowledge and obviousness.
When McLouth submitted requested instruction 32, the judge said he would make one modification
McLouth's counsel did not urge at any time before or after the judge instructed the jury that instructing concerning McLouth's obligation to warn of dangers which McLouth knew or had created would leave the jury with the counterintuitive impression that the jury might properly hold McLouth subject to liability for failing to warn Riddle of a danger so well known and obvious that there was no need for a warning.
Mere submission of alternative instruction No. 32 did not suffice as an objection. Instruction No. 32 was incorrect in that it omitted the correct SJI2d 19.03 statement, to which Riddle was entitled, that "the possessor ... must warn the invitee of dangers of which [it] knows or has created...."
The mere submission of requested instruction No. 32, did not constitute the specific objection contemplated by MCR 2.516(C).
The rule is well settled that to preserve a claim
The interests of "judicial economy" are best served by requiring counsel to preserve objections to instructions specifically. Otherwise counsel
It is well established that an appellate court will reverse for unpreserved instructional deficiencies only when necessary to prevent manifest injustice.
The majority concludes that "the Court's intervention here is appropriate."
Riddle's theory of the case was that McLouth created an unreasonable risk of harm by allowing
McLouth contended that it exercised reasonable care for Riddle's safety by providing a safe walkway around the coil field, and that Riddle was injured because, in deciding to walk through the coil field, although he knew of the oily condition, he failed to exercise reasonable care for his own safety.
SJI2d 19.03 was given in a context in which it was made clear that it was for the jury to decide what McLouth should have done to discharge its obligation to keep the premises safe for invitees.
Having in mind the theories of the parties presented by the court to the jury, the single reference concerning McLouth's obligation to warn did not result in manifest injustice to McLouth.
The judge instructed the jury on McLouth's theory that Riddle "knew or should have known the coil field contains oil," and that Riddle "disregarded his prior knowledge," and that Riddle "knew or should have known that in using ordinary care of the existence of oil in the coil field," and "that was negligence on his part." The judge also instructed the jury regarding contributory negligence and comparative negligence.
Read as a whole, the instructions cannot properly be said, in the absence of objection, to have left the jury with the impression that McLouth had a duty to warn Riddle of dangers that were known and obvious to Riddle.
The jury apportioned the fault of the parties. It
The gravamen of McLouth's appellate claims is that Riddle's knowledge of oily conditions in the coil field made the danger open and obvious to him, and thus eliminated any obligation on the part of McLouth to warn him. The only explanation for the jury finding Riddle comparatively negligent was that his knowledge of plant conditions made his decision to walk through the coil field unreasonable.
The jury thus did in fact accept the proposition McLouth succeeds in urging on appeal, that McLouth did not have an absolute duty to warn Riddle of the dangerous condition in the area through which he walked.
The majority does not state, in so many words, that the instructional deficiency was the failure to state — as part of SJI2d 19.03 or as a supplement thereto — that there is "no duty to warn of open and obvious dangers." But the opinion of the Court assuredly will be so read in light of the nine pages of discussion,
No doubt the standard civil jury instruction
Further, if a no duty to warn of known and obvious danger instruction should be given, it should be a balanced instruction, one that states not only that there is no obligation to warn of open or obvious dangers, but also the further qualification, set forth in the Restatement, "unless the possessor should anticipate the harm despite such knowledge or obviousness."
The Restatement formulation appears to be well supported in the cases. Prosser & Keeton, Torts (5th ed), § 61, p 427, reports that while "in the usual case, there is no obligation to protect the invitee against dangers which are known to him, or which are so obvious and apparent that he may reasonably be expected to discover them," "something more in the way of precautions may be required" notwithstanding the invitee's "knowledge, warning, or the obvious nature of the condition." Among the particularized instances where "something more" may be required, are situations where there is reason to expect that "after a lapse of time [the invitee] may forget the existence of
The origin of the "no-duty" rule is unclear. It may be a vestige of common-law contributory negligence theory and obsolete status definitions. When contributory negligence was an absolute bar to recovery by a negligent plaintiff, courts expressed in terms of the so-called no-duty rule the conclusion that, in certain situations, the plaintiff was contributorily negligent.
An invitor owes an invitee a duty to exercise reasonable care to make the premises safe for his
Because an invitor undeniably owes an invitee a duty to keep premises reasonably safe, the "no duty to warn" rule cannot be unconditionally true. An invitor would surely be subject to liability to an invitee for harm resulting from an egregiously dangerous condition even though the invitor made a concerted effort to publicize the risk. The invitor would not necessarily be absolved of liability simply because he had provided a warning. The "no duty to warn rule," in the context of invitor-invitees assumes that the obvious danger continues to be extant after the invitor has taken reasonable
Whether an invitor is negligent because he fails to warn an invitee of an open and obvious danger is a question of the standard of care required in a given set of circumstances, rather than a question of duty. The confusion concerning this aspect of the matter stems from the tendency to analyze virtually every aspect of negligence in terms of "duty."
"Duty" refers, strictly speaking, to a legally recognized obligation to observe or conform to some particular standard of conduct toward another.
Thus, where it is said that "no duty" is owed by a particular defendant, in the sense that negligence or fault of the plaintiff contributed to the harm in a particular instance, or that a danger is open and obvious because of the plaintiff's subjective knowledge of the danger, comparative negligence would indeed abrogate the "no duty" rule because a plaintiff's contributory negligence does not bar recovery and a decision to encounter a dangerous condition despite subjective knowledge of the peril is relevant in deciding the extent of the plaintiff's negligence. Application of comparative negligence principles would then call for the jury to apportion fault between the parties.
It is evident that standard of care, not duty, lies at the heart of the present dispute.
The following propositions are central to the majority's discussion of the law governing a premises owner's obligation to invitees:
These statements, while accurate in themselves, do not yield the conclusion in support of which the majority opinion is likely to be read:
We agree with the majority that a premises owner is obliged to warn an invitee of hidden or latent dangers.
The majority's discussion of the law concerning a premises owner's obligation to warn in respect of open and obvious dangers does not support the unconditional statement that there is "no duty to warn of open and obvious dangers." The scope of a premises owner's obligation to warn is not limited by the majority to only hidden or latent dangers. The majority acknowledges that in particular circumstances a premises owner might be obliged to warn of a danger although it is open and obvious.
The majority's analysis supports at most a holding that there is "no absolute duty to warn of open and obvious dangers," or, equivalently, that there is "no duty to warn of open and obvious dangers unless the premises owner should anticipate that harm will result despite the open and obvious character of the danger."
CAVANAGH, C.J., concurred with LEVIN, J.
See Clark v Dalman at 260.
2 Restatement Torts, 2d, § 343A, comments e and f, pp 219-220, may offer guidance in the determination of the scope of a premises owner's duty to invitees where known or obvious conditions are present:
Our decision to grant leave to appeal in a limited number of cases represents an effort to conserve scarce judicial resources. We are aware that appellate review of an error not properly preserved regarding jury instructions is generally foreclosed. MCR 2.516(C). However, where the defect in the jury instruction pertains "to basic and controlling issues in a case," this Court may conclude that review of an error to which no objection was raised is appropriate in order to avoid manifest injustice. Hunt v Deming, 375 Mich. 581, 585; 134 N.W.2d 662 (1965). We strongly believe the Court's intervention here is appropriate to avoid prospective misapplication of duty/standard of care principles. The Court of Appeals articulated an improper conclusion of law, i.e., the abolition of the "no duty to warn of open and obvious dangers" rule in light of Michigan's adoption of comparative negligence, which demanded clarification by this Court.
The opinion also states that the judge "incorrectly instructed the jury, leaving the impression that a premises owner's duty to warn an invitee ... is absolute and ever present." Id. The opinion also states that the instructions were deficient "in setting forth the appropriate duty of premises owners to invitees." Id., p 102.
The second paragraph of requested instruction 32 consists of two sentences taken from SJI2d 19.03. (See ante, p 100, for text of SJI2d 19.03 as slightly modified by the judge.) The first sentence of the second paragraph is the last sentence of the first paragraph of SJI2d 19.03, and the second sentence of the second paragraph is the first sentence of the second paragraph of SJI2d 19.03.
The first paragraph of requested instruction 32 states that it is the duty of the possessor of premises
The circuit judge more than adequately, and accurately, stated those concepts when he instructed the jury in accordance with SJI2d 19.03 as set forth in the first three sentences of the instruction he gave. (See ante, p 100.)
See also 2 Honigman & Hawkins, Michigan Court Rules Annotated (2d ed), ch 50, rule 516, pp 560-567.
In Rehak v City of Joliet, 52 Ill.App.3d 724, 726; 367 N.E.2d 1071 (1977), the court pertinently observed:
See also n 16.
See also United Ins Co of America v Ray, 275 Ala 411, 414; 155 So.2d 514 (1963).
An objection was found to be not sufficiently specific in Wanner v Mears, 102 Mich. 554, 557; 61 NW 2 (1894), where the defendant claimed that "`[t]he circuit judge erred in charging the jury and in giving the requests for plaintiff found on pages 134-140 of record.'"
The Court refused to consider the claim of error, saying:
Other jurisdictions have made comparable pronouncements regarding preservation of instructional errors. Merely submitting proposed instructions does not necessarily state or preserve an objection:
See also Stuckey v Union Mortgage & Investment Co, 383 S.W.2d 429, 437 (Tex Civ App, 1964).
See also Kaminski, supra, pp 428-429; Springer v Fuller, 196 Mich. 628, 633; 162 NW 973 (1917); Pray v Cadwell, n 14 supra, pp 223-224.
A jury instruction need not be perfect, but must allow the jury to consider fairly the theories of the parties. Springer v Fuller, n 16 supra; Huffman v First Baptist Church, 355 Mich. 437; 94 N.W.2d 869 (1959); Solomon v Shuell, 435 Mich. 104, 137; 457 N.W.2d 669 (1990). In Huffman, Justice VOELKER stated:
It thus appears that, depending on the facts and circumstances, there might be an obligation to warn invitees of known and obvious dangers.
The second Restatement of Torts added the classification of "invitee" which included "business visitors" and employees, omitted § 340, and added § 343A to address expressly the obligations of the invitor arising from the invitor-invitee relationship concerning known or obvious dangers:
Although 2 Restatement Torts, 2d, § 343A(1), n 25 supra, expresses the principle that the open and obvious character of a danger does not absolutely immunize a premises owner from liability for harm caused by the danger, and is consonant with the verdict in the instant case, the same result would be reached under § 343, which provides:
See, e.g., Spear v Wineman, 335 Mich. 287; 55 N.W.2d 833 (1952) (under 2 Restatement Torts, 2d, § 343, it is for the jury to decide the question of contributory negligence where a plaintiff-customer is injured when hit by a wind-blown door of the store where she was shopping).
In the instant case, there was evidence that workers commonly used the coil field as a shortcut to reach plant offices, and that a warning would likely have been ignored. A jury might conclude that McLouth was subject to liability despite the "obviousness" of the danger in the coil field, on the ground that it should have expected that the workers would not realize the danger or would fail to protect themselves against it, § 343(b).
In addressing the obligations of an invitor to invitees regarding accumulations of ice and snow the Court said:
The majority also quotes from Caniff v Blanchard Navigation Co, 66 Mich. 638, 647; 33 NW 744 (1887):
In both Samuelson and Caniff the premises owners were absolved of liability because of the open and obvious character of the dangers involved. These nineteenth century cases do not adequately address the interplay between the duty imposed on the premises owners and the status of plaintiffs. The results in these cases might be different if considered today. At the time these cases were written, employees were classed as "licensees." Subsequently, employees were accorded the status of "invitees" and were owed a higher degree of care.
In Caniff, the Court rejected the plaintiff's claim that he was present on the ship as a "licensee," because
The Court thus intimated that plaintiff was a trespasser. Further, the passage quoted by the majority occurred in the context of the Court's remark:
The Court was clearly applying traditional principles of contributory negligence to bar any recovery by the plaintiff. Caniff thus illustrates the use of "duty"/"no duty" as a proxy for facts strong enough either to bar recovery as a matter of law under traditional contributory negligence doctrine, or that the absence of a warning would not have been a proximate cause of plaintiff's injuries (because he probably would have ignored a warning anyway).
The majority also relies on Nezworski v Mazanec, n 26 supra, p 61, for the rule:
Nezworski concerned a plaintiff who suffered injuries from a fall down the stairway leading to the basement of a restaurant. This Court affirmed a verdict in favor of plaintiff. The remark quoted by the majority was made in the course of rejecting the defendant's claim that he was not chargeable with knowledge of the condition of the premises, and therefore owed no obligation to warn of dangerous conditions. The defendant did not claim that he owed the plaintiff "no duty to warn" because the danger was obvious to the plaintiff.