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Prisoner may sue for gross negligence; jury must decide

Marvin Davis was transported to Detroit Recieving Hospital for medical treatment in the late evening of December 11, 2007.  As a matter of policy, prisoners transported in the City at night are restrained with hand-cuffs, leg irons and a belly chain.  These restraints make it difficult to walk and impair balance, so it is the policy of transporting guards to assist prisoners into and out of the transport van.  Davis claimed that he suffered serious injury when the guards refused to assist him with the result that he fell on ice as he exited the van.

Davis filed an injury suit against the guards, who then sought summary disposition, arguing that their alleged fault was "mere" negligence and not the statutory gross negligence required to avoid governmental immunity.  The trial court's decision that determining "gross negligence" under these circumstances is a fact question for the jury was unanimously upheld by the Court of Appeals.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262