Claim against University of Michigan and negligent employee-driver is dismissed for notice violation
Alex Lemerand sued Kevin Sheldon Hartman and the U of M, alleging that Hartman's negligent operation of a University vehicle caused injury to Lemerand. Hartman was cited in the collision after he rear-ended Lemerand's vehicle at a stop light. Although Lemerand's counsel provided written notice of the event and Lemerand's intent to pursue a claim within 60 days, no formal written notice of the potential claim was filed pursuant to MCL 600.6401 (the governmental immunity act and Court of Claims Act). On that basis, the University sought summary disposition of Lemerand's claim.
Lemerand argued that the University did not suffer any prejudice by reason of the failure to file a formal notice, as it was fully informed, in writing, of the particulars of the claim and enjoyed a timely, thorough opportunity to investigate. The Court of Appeals noted, however, that the Engler Majority of the Michgian Supreme Court had eliminated the "prejudice" requirement from the notice obligation. Regardless of whether the University was hurt by the failure to recieve a formal Court of Claims notice, it was entitled to summary disposition.