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City not responsible for injuries caused by limb that fell from diseased tree

Clinton Bearss sued the City of Clawson after he was struck on the head by a falling tree branch.  He was standing on a City sidewalk when he was struck, and he argued that the City should not be immune from its alleged negligence in failing to remove the tree before it caused injury.  He argued that the City's "sovereign immunity" did not apply in this situation, because (under the statutory highway exception to immunity) the diseased tree in the City-controlled highway right-of-way rendered the highway and sidewalk "not reasonably safe for public travel."  The Court rejected his claim and granted summary disposition, noting that the Engler Majority of the Supreme Court had repudiated earlier decisions of Michigan's Supreme Court and returned to "a broad reading" of immunity with narrowly limited exceptions.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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