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Appeals court reverses ruling on corn maze accident

September 28, 2016
| By AP |
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Headed to a haunted corn maze during the Halloween season? Watch your step.

The Michigan appeals court gave new life to a lawsuit by a man who fell and broke his leg while trying to get out of a tricky maze during a late-night rain in Allegan County in 2013.

The court said the wet path should be considered open and obvious, a key defense for business owners in slip-and-fall lawsuits. But the court found another important issue — whether Michael Davis and his wife were forced by employees to use that path as their exit from the Witches of New Salem maze in Dorr.

"The path the employees insisted visitors travel was arguably unsafe….The flowing water blocked the only means of exit from the corn maze," the court said in a 3-0 opinion released Friday.

The appeals court reversed a decision by an Allegan County judge who had dismissed the lawsuit in favor of the owner, Jeffrey Lenhart. The ruling means Davis can take the case to trial, unless the state Supreme Court intervenes.

"It was a nasty injury. It never completely heals. He's an adult in his early 40s," said Davis' attorney, Brian Lawson.

Lenhart's attorney, Kerr Moyer, declined to comment on the court ruling.

The maze, meanwhile, is ready for another season, 20 miles south of Grand Rapids, complete with witches and zombies and a milder, no-ghoul maze during daylight.

"Every night is filled with screams at the New Salem corn maze!" the website says.

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