Court upholds dismissal of auto accident victim's injury claim against the State
Calistro Vega sued the State and Andrew Gillette, Jr., after Vega was hurt in a car accident. He ahd been northbound on US-31 when he was rear-ended by Gillette driving a State-owned car. Vega did not file a Notice of Intent to sue the State within six months of the accident, however, and the Republican majority on Michigan's Supreme Court has reveresed decades of precedent to hold that any technical defect in the Plaintiff's notice obligation is cause for dismissal--whether the State was aware of the claim or prejudiced by the Plaintiff's lack of complete written notice, or not.
The State did not argue that it was unaware of the claim or that it was prejudiced by the Plaintiff's lack of notice, and the Plaintiff argued that since no prejudice resulted, the Supreme Court's decisions changing the notice requirement should not be applied retroactively to an incident that occurred prior to the Court's change in the law. The Court of Appeals disagreed and upheld the dismissal of Vega's injury suit. Under Michigan law, as interpreted by the insurance-friendly Republican majority, it is more important to penalize victims for failing to meet the terms of a notice limitation--even though no harm resulted--than it is to compensate victims for a legitimate injury caused by a government employee.