Cardelli Lanfear Prevails on Appeal–Trial Court Reversed!


The law firm of Cardelli Lanfear, P.C. prevailed fully on appeal in a recent case of Smail v Mercedes-Benz, USA.  In Smail, the plaintiff alleged injuries after tripping over a clear plastic barrier at the Mercedes-Benz exhibit at the Detroit Auto Show.  The plaintiff alleged that Mercedes-Benz was liable in premises liability, but sought and obtained leave to also plead theories of ordinary negligence in assisting plaintiff (aggravating his injuries) and a third-party contractual beneficiary liability.  The trial court granted summary disposition on the premises liability claim, but denied summary disposition as to the ordinary negligence and third-party beneficiary theories.  Cardelli Lanfear persuaded the Michigan Court of Appeals to accept an interlocutory appeal of the trial court rulings.  On appeal, the Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiff could not recover for ordinary negligence in the absence of proof that it was a Mercedes-Benz employee (or agent) that assisted the plaintiff (allegedly aggravating his injuries).  The Court of Appeals also reversed the ruling that the plaintiff could have been a third-party beneficiary of a contractual provision applying to benefit “everyone.”  Notably, the Court of Appeals also  affirmed the trial court’s ruling dismissing the premises liability claims, resulting in a complete victory on appeal for Mercedes-Benz USA.  For more information, please feel free to contact Jason Newman, Anthony Caffrey, or Thomas Cardelli at Cardelli Lanfear, P.C.  Full text of opinion: 20180724_c337709_41_337709.opn