City can't have its cake and eat it, too, when repairing a sidewalk
Angela Patrick was seriously injured while riding her bike on the sidewalk adjacent to Eight Mile Road. She sued the City of Warren alleging that it was negligent in performing repairs to the sidewalk and failing to warn of the hazard created during repairs. The City claimed that it owed no duty to erect signs, warnings or barricades, based on a decision by the so-called Engler Majority that the statutory duty to maintain reasonably safe roads does not include the duty to maintain reasonably safe traffic control signs, signals or devices. The City also claimed that it was immune from injury claims during construction and repair of roads and sidewalks.
The Court of Appeals rejected the City's legal defense, noting that it had not actually closed the sidewalk to traffic. It could not maintain that it was immune during periods of repair if it did not completely close the traveled roadway to traffic. While Patrick could not allege that the City's signage and barricading were inadequate, she could logically show that the sidewalk was not reasonable safe--due to excavations occurring during construction--and that the signage and barricading did not close the subject section of sidewalk to traffic.