Georgia Boggs speaks to Don Kirkendall Thursday at the Greater Niles Senior Center. Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT
Georgia Boggs speaks to Don Kirkendall Thursday at the Greater Niles Senior Center. Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Archived Story

Niles councilwoman suing McDonald’s

Published 7:20am Friday, July 18, 2014

Holding a picture of her shattered leg bone in front of a crowd at the Greater Niles Senior Center Thursday, Georgia Boggs spoke about the accident at a local fast food restaurant that changed her life.

“I don’t want this to ever happen to anybody else,” said the Niles City Councilwoman. “Please, please, please be careful.”

In January of 2011, Boggs said she slipped on the sidewalk at the Niles McDonald’s on South 11 Street, breaking the femur bone in her right leg in two places.

She said the sidewalk was covered in snow and ice that had not been shoveled or salted.

She underwent three surgeries after the fall, including the insertion of a metal rod in her leg and a knee replacement.

Since then, she said her life has changed dramatically. She used to walk five miles each day, but now it is a struggle to get to and from her vehicle.

“My leg will never be the same,” Boggs said.

Boggs filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s Restaurants of Michigan, claiming damages as a result of the fall on their property.

Lawyers representing McDonald’s are attempting to have the suit thrown out based on the state’s open and obvious doctrine, which more or less says that a business owner is not required to protect customers from open and obvious dangers, such as snow or ice on a sidewalk. The customer is supposed to avoid the danger.

The Daily Star was unable to reach the attorney for McDonald’s by press time.

Boggs’ attorney, Matt Wilkerson, said McDonald’s is using the open and obvious doctrine as a shield instead of trying to make things right with Boggs.

“We are only asking McDonald’s to do the right thing,” Boggs said.

Wilkerson said the case has yet to be settled in Berrien County Court. He expects the court to make a ruling after a settlement conference in January.

In the meantime, Boggs is warning citizens to be aware of the open and obvious doctrine. She is also calling to have the doctrine repealed.

“It will take each of you to write your congressman, your senator, about this law,” she said.

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