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Another injury claim against government dismissed on a technicality

Khadija Glaspie left the Crazy Horse Saloon at 8140 Michigan Avenue in Detroit on July 10, 2009, and fractured her ankle in a pothole on St. Lawrence Street.  17 days later, she filed a formal notice of injury with the City, including 3 color photographs depicting the pothole, a view of St. Lawrence Street (not identified by sign in the picture, however) and the Michigan Avenue facade of the Saloon.  The notice, unfortunately, indicated that the injury occurred "in front of Crazy Horse Saloon at 8140 Michigan Avenue..."  The City sought to dismiss the claim, arguing that the notice Glaspie filed did not accurately describe "the exact location" of the injury.

Although the lower court refused to dismiss the claim, the Court of Appeals reversed.  It held that under "Engler Majority" precedent, substantial compliance with the notice requirement was not adequate and the City need not show that it was prejudiced by an error in the notice provided.  Therefore, the "justice" of Glaspie's claim will be decided not by a jury applying statutory law to the circumstances of her injury, but rather by the communication error occurring two-three weeks after the injury between Glaspie, her lawyers and the City.  Our courts are now similar to the courts in China where a "dispute" becomes a process of meaningless procedure and "form," rather than a genuine decision on the merits of the controversy.  The disfavored citizen litigant gets "due process" only in the sense of procedural rules being applied.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262