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Public road within Wayne County Airport Authority property is subject to highway law

Michael Vela was hurt when the TUG he was operating rolled over after encountering "a rough patch" on the airport service road.  The Airport Authority argued that it owed no duty to maintain the road because, although public, it was entirely contained within Airport Authority property. It also argued that the injured man did not adequately describe the area where he was hurt in the Notice he filed with the Authority immediately after his injury.

The Court held that the statute making governmental entities responsible for maintaining a "reasonably safe" road made no exception for roads that are contained within one landowner's property.  The Court also dismissed the Authority's denigration of the specificity of Vela's notice.  It noted that while Vela did not give an "exact" description of the location of the pothole where the loss of control started, he did provide two descriptive letters, eight color photographs, a police-drawn sketch and a very thorough description that was more than adequate to meet the statutory standard.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262