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Mining Company may be responsible for injuries caused by damage it caused at highway-driveway connection

As a result of a fall on her bicycle, Debra McCue suffered a skull fracture and head injuries so severe that she required a conservator.  The fall occurred while McCue was participating in a bicycle tour, and in particular, while she was biking on M-134 in Mackinac County.  Her Conservator alleged that the fall was caused by deterioration in the road where an O-N Minerals Company driveway entered M-134.  It was also alleged that the deterioration was the result of O-N driving extremely heavy trucks across the road at this location.  O-N argued that the State had sole jurisdiction and responsibility for maintaining the highway, and that it owed no duty to McCue or the traveling public.

The Court of Claims dismissed McCue's lawsuit against the State, holding that McCue had released the State from liability when she signed a waiver of liability in order to participate in the bike tour.  The Trial Judge denied O-N's motion for summary disposition, however, finding that the evidence adduced by McCue's attorneys established a valid fact question with regard to whether O-N had so damaged the road right-of-way that it became subject to a duty to repair it.  On appeal the appellate judges upheld this decision, as well as the lower court's denial of McCue's request for summary disposition.  Regarding the latter, the judges noted that it would still be up to the jury to decide whether a defect caused by O-N resulted in McCue's fall and injuries.  The Court also determined that McCue had stated a claim for private injuries caused by a public nuisance.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262