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Manistee County Road Commission loses argument that unpaved road is not subject to rules regarding maintenance of reasonably safe roadway

Debra Louise Hagerty died in a single-vehicle accident.  The accident allegedly occurred on unpaved Litzen Road when an oncoming vehicle created an extensive dust cloud that obscured the road, causing Hagerty to leave the roadway and strike a tree.  The family claimed that the Road Commission was not in compliance with the statutory duty to maintain a reasonably safe road (even though Republican Justices have constricted the duty to the traveled road bed, not including signage, electronic controls, design, etc.).  The Road Commission argued that whether or not it took adequate measures to control dust rising from the surface of the road, it should be immune from any liability for unpaved roads.

The Court of Appeals rejected the Road Commission's claim, finding the duty to maintain a reasonably safe roadbed may include the duty to reasonably maintain an unpaved road surface.  On the other hand, it did strike the family's claim for pre-injury fright suffered by the Decedent when she was enveloped in the extensive dust cloud, since this alleged fright did not arise out of a "bodily injury."

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