Airport Authority loses third appeal in five-year-old case claiming immunity
Maybe the third time around will be the charm for Michael Vela. He sued the Wayne County Airport Authority for damages after he was injured while operating his motorcycle or a service road that he claimed was not "reasonably safe for public travel." Twice before, the Aiport Authority has sought summary disposition arguing that it should be immune for any injuries Vela suffered. Both times the higher court rejected the defendant's argument. This time, the Authority argued, in essence, that while the road was "bad" it was not so bad as to be unsafe.
The higher court noted that the plaintiffs had filed the affidavit of a civil engineer who asserted that the road wasn't reasonably safe and that any reasonable road authority would have recognized the defective condition well before the accident. It also noted that the Authority filed no "competing" proof suggesting that the engineer was wrong. On this basis, the court ruled that the Authority had not provided adequate proof to dispute the engineer and secure a summary disposition of the case: it will be a question of fact for the jury to decide whether it agrees with the engineer.