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Court interprets two-inch sidewalk rule

Marie Handley, a minor child, suffered serious injuries while riding her bicycle in the City of Ann Arbor.  She struck a tree after losing control when her bike hit a sidewalk slab that was raised 1 and 7/8ths inches in height and obscured by vegetation and debris.  The City's duty to maintain roads includes the duty to maintain sidewalks, and a two-inch discontinuity in a sidewalk creates a rebuttable inference that the sidewalk has not been maintained in reasonable repair. 

The City argued that since the slab had not shifted two inches in height, Handley had not met her burden of proving that the sidewalk was not reasonably maintained:  the trial court and court of appeals both disagreed, pointing out that while Handley's evidence did not create a rebuttable inference of inadequate maintenance solely from the height of the discontinuity, she still presented adequate evidence to take the claim to a jury.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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