Court holds that intersection of alley and public highway is part of the highway for liability issues
Kurt Teramo suffered serious injuries when his moped struck a pothole at the "T" intersection of Clover Court and Broadway Alley in the City of Grand Rapids. Although public entities remain responsible for maintaining "reasonably safe roads," the Republican majority of Michigan's Supreme Court has limited this duty--through successive decisions--to the road surface itself. The more insurance-oriented Justices have concluded that the statutory duty does not include a duty to design safe roads, to maintain signs or traffic control devices, or to maintain curbs, rights-of-way or bridge structures. It also interpreted the statute in such a manner that it does not apply to public alleys.The attorneys for the City of Grand Rapids argued that since Teramo fell after striking a pothole at the intersection of a public alley, in a gravel approach near a drain, the City should be immune from liability for this injury also. The Court of Appeals considered exhaustive evidence provided by the Plaintiff, before concluding that Teramo fell at a public road "intersection" and therefore was not immune from liability under the applicable statute.