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Road defect claim is dismissed, despite actual notice, because injury victimm used ordinary mail

Jerome Gowdy was badly hurt when his bicycle struck a sinkhole that the City of Flint had allegedly not maintained properly.  The City admitted that he timely provided it with the required Notice and information about the injury, but sought summary dismissal because he provided the notice by first class mail and did not send it by "certified mail, return receipt requested."  The City argued that pursuant to recent Supreme Court decisions, it was irrelevant that Gowdy had substantially complied with the statute allowing injury actions against a municipality; since he didn't serve the notice in the manner required by statute, his claim must be thrown out.

The Court of Appeals agreed and affirmed the dismissal of Gowdy's suit.  It held that it did not matter that the City admitted that it received everthing the statute required within the statutory 120 days after the incident.  It also held that it did not matter that prior decisions of the Supreme Court would have reccognized Gowdy's substantial compliance and the lack of prejudice to the City.  Pursuant to the current Supreme Court's analysis, failing to send the injury information to the City with a return receipt was permanently fatal to the injured bicyclist's claim.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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