Hamtramck woman will get her day in court after falling on City sidewalk
Kimeta Jakukpovic was walking home from the bank when she tripped and fell in an unfamiliar neighborhood. She fell after catching a heel in a 3" defect in the sidewalk, and she suffered a badly fractured arm with permanent complications. It turns out the adjacent residents had been complaining to the City about the condition of the sidewalk, however, the City declined to repair it.After her fall, Jakupovic sent a notice to the City that did not explain the nature of the defect, or explain what injuries she suffered. The City also claimed that she did not address whether there were "known" witnesses, as required by the notice statute. Within the 120 day notice period, however, Jakupovic met with an investigator hired by the City and explained everything to him. She then filed a lawsuit within the notice period, and her Complaint addressed the issues that were inadequately addressed in the original notice.
The City sought summary disposition arguing inadequate notice, which was denied. It then appealed the same arguments to the Court of Appeals. A unanimous court ruled that the notice requirements need NOT be met, pre-suit, if the suit is filed within the 120 day notice period. Further, it rejected the City's claim that Jakupovic was required to investigate and provide the City with the names of possible witnesses who may have witnessed the incident or provided details, since Jakupovic was only required to identify "known" witnesses. Finally, the Court ruled that Jakupovic's description of the defect as "adjacent" to the neighboring street address was adequate, even though she had mistakenly identified the next door neighbor's house number.