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School system pickup driver who ran over 'cyclist is immune from liability

Michael Murchie, driving a Monroe Public Schools pickup, made a right-turn on red and ran into Thomas Bilan on his tricycle in the crosswalk.  Bilan sued, but the claim against Murchie was dismissed because Murchie was only negligent and not guilty of "gross negligence."  Persons employed by government are deemed immune from "ordinary negligence" in Michigan.  Gross negligence has recently been interpreted to require "a substantial lack of concern for whether an injury will result."  According to Republicans on the Michigan Supreme Court, hitting someone in the crosswalk, while turning right against the traffic light, does not qualify.

Because Murchie was driving a government vehicle, the school system owner of the truck may be liable for Murchie's "ordinary negligence."  Meanwhile, the Court of Appeals rejected the  Defendants' claim that permanent "disarticulation of Bilan's ribs from the costal margin of the cartilaginous sternum" cannot be a "serious impairment of bodily function caused by this incident."   In essence, Bilan's surgeon's claim that the impact "unknitted" the surgical repair of Bilan's chest after open heart surgery five months earlier was recognized as a question of fact.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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