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Kid's case against the City is dismissed because parents gave notice late

13-year old Paige Walsh Brown suffered serious injuries when her bicycle struck an upturned section of concrete sidewalk in New Baltimore, Michigan.  Her parents hired a lawyer and gave notice of the injury to the adjacent homeowner.  The homeowner's insurer directed them to the City, and eight months after the incident, the parents registered a claim with it.  The City refused to pay for Brown's injuries or medical, arguing that the family did not give it notice within 180 days as required by the pertinent governmental immunity statute.

The trial judge agreed with the City and dismissed Paige's law suit.   The Court of Appeals affirmed.  It noted that under recent decisions by the Republican majority of the Supreme Court, "substantial compliance" with the notice provision was not adequate and the City did not need to establish any prejudice resulting from the delay in giving notice.  It also pointed out that recent rulings have refused to apply the "tolling" provisions of infancy (allowing a brief period after reaching adulthood for a child to file suit--even if it is beyond the statute of limitations) to notice requirements.  Thus, Paige would have extra time to file her lawsuit, but she had no extra time to give the City notice of her injury.  This is one of many procedural protections that formerly applied to infants and incompetent persons, but which the Republican Supreme Court majority have now stripped away.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262