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Inverse condemnation and storm water sewer negligence claim dismissed

The negligence theories incorporated into Theodore Slicer's action against the City of St. Johns, Clinton County and its Road Commission were dismissed after the court ruled he had not complied with the 45 day notice requirement.  HIs property flooded on September 15 of 2008 after a heavy rain.  He put the City on notice by letter dated November 12. The Court held that since he did not comply with the 45 day limit his action must be dismissed if he did not prove a legal excuse.  Since he did not allege that he was unaware of the notice requirement, and did not claim that he was not properly informed of the deadline by the City, he could not meet any of the notice exceptions.  The Court arrived at this result despite the fact that it found an "obvious" breach by the municipalities of their duty to inform Slicer of his legal remedies and the notice period.  His claim against the County was also deemed unsustainable because negligent design of a sewer system is deemed by our courts not to be an actionable theory:  victims must allege a failure to maintain or repair.

The Court did allow Slicer to pursue an eminent domain claim.  It noted there was evidence to support the claim that intentional actions taken by the municipalities in the process of a construction contract had resulted in the "taking" and use of Slicer's property.  Therefore, it will be up to jurors to determine whether the "taking" was unconstitutional.

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