The owner of Maple Village Self Storage in Ann Arbor, Mich., was cleared last week of negligence charges relating to a customer’s death in 2005.
The estate of Anthony B. Lagos, who died at the self-storage site when he accidentally locked himself in his car trunk, sued facility owner William Davis III in Washtenaw County Trial Court. The plaintiff claimed Davis was negligent for not discovering that Lagos had trapped himself in his 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme while fixing a taillight. Lagos stored his vehicle at the facility.
Davis was originally found guilty by a Washtenaw County judge, but the Michigan Appeals Court overturned that decision, saying Davis had no duty to inspect the trunk of Lagos’ car, which was parked outside his unit. According to the court documents, requiring Davis to open the trunk of vehicle parked on the premises after hours is outside the scope of any inspection duty assumed by Davis, especially where it was not foreseeable that Lagos would be injured if such an inspection were not undertaken.