Court reverses trial judge who misapplied law to summarily dispose of fall resulting in death
In Sufi v. City of Detroit, the City achieved summary disposition of a fall claim that had resulted in a death. The fall occurred on a sidewalk with a "5 to 6 inch" gap where the 77-year-old fell. The City had argued that it was entitled to summary disposition because the Estate could not prove that Sufi had been exposed to a 2" vertical hole ("discontinuity") in the sidewalk--creating an unrebutted presumption that the defect had not caused the fall.
The higher court pointed out that the 2" vertical requirement was a statutory amendment that was adopted after Sufi's fall and therefore did not apply to this case. Although the motion for governmental immunity was filed late, such a motion can be argued at any time, but in this case the Court rushed to judgment by deciding the motion within days of its filing and without adequately gathering the relevant evidence. For all of these reasons, summary disposition of the case was not appropriate.