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Lead-poisoned ROTC officer cannot sue because he didn't give notice prior to his diagnosis

Michael Brewer was assigned as a shooting instructor in the ROTC program at Central Michigan University while on active duty with the U.S. Military.  He developed symptoms of lead poisoning that eventually led to a medical retirement.  Three months after he was diagnosed with lead poisoning in May of 2011, he sent a notice to CMU, advising the State of his intent to sue for the negligent management of the shooting range (which had been closed after Brewer left, due to lead poisoning contamination).

The State argued that Brewer's case must be dismissed because he failed to give notice of his injury within six months of the injury occurring.  The trial judge agreed and granted summary disposition.  Brewer appealed unsuccessfully.  The Court of Appeals panel held that Brewer was obligated to provide the state with written notice of his injury within six months of developing symptoms of lead poisoning:  since he did not, his claim must be dismissed, even if his injury had not yet been diagnosed.  The Court emphasized that under the analysis of the Republican majority of Michigan's Supreme Court, any defect in the technical notice statute is fatal to an injury claim, even if the State suffered no prejudice as a result.  Furthermore, while there are some exceptions for delayed discovery of an injury-causing mechanism under the statute of limitations, the Court has held that there are no similar exceptions that apply to statutory notice provisions.

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