Injury verdict against contractor is overturned
James Long sued the City of Port Huron and a sewer contractor, Pamar Enterprise, Inc., after he tripped on an uncovered gas valve near the curb at the corner of Riverside and Garfield. The parties agreed that the gas valve cover "disappeared" while Pamar was working in the area, but Long couldn't confirm that Pamar actually removed it. A jury trial resulted in a verdict in Long's favor in the amount of $72,000.00, of which $18,000.00 was allocated to Pamar. Pamar appealed and was fortunate enough to draw a panel that included Henry Saad and Kirsten Kelly. The Court of Appeals ruled that since Pamar was no longer in possession of the location when Long fell, and since Long could not prove that Long removed the cover, Pamar could not be held responsible for the missing cover--even though it controlled the area at the time the cover went missing and was never replaced.