Case against school for gash suffered by boy running down auditorium aisle is dismissed
The parents of Justice Stephens attempted to sue the Ruben Daniels Middle School after 12-year old Justice suffered a severe gash on his thigh when it struck a metal chair as he was running down an aisleway. Apparently the family claimed there was a defect in the auditorium chair that oresented a hazard and should have been corrected. In any event, the family's attorney sent notice to the school within five months, but missed the statutory four month deadline established in the governmental immunity statute, and also left out some of the required notice contents (names of witnesses, description of injury, nature of the defect, etc.) The Republican majority of the Michigan Supreme Court has reversed prior law and held that "substantial compliance" with the notice requirements is not adequate, and that even an imprecise description of the injury location is enough to bar a claim--whether the governmental entity is prejudiced by the error or not. Furthermore, the notice in this case probably didn't even qualify as "substantially in compliance" with the statutory requirements. It was no great surprise, therefore, that the Court of Appeals reversed the trial judge's refusal to dismiss of the claim. The judge had delayed summary disposition pending the outcome of discovery.