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State loses frivolous argument over "exact location" in injury notice

When someone is injured by a defective roadway, they must give immediate notice to the pertinent governmental agency, or their claim is waived.  The Republican Supreme Court majority has extended this rule to such an extent that the government need not even argue that it was prejudiced by a late or inadequate notice; it has ruled, contrary to prior law, that "substantial compliance" is not adequate.

As a result, almost every week there is another appeal by a governmental entity, arguing that someone's injury notice was defective.  In this case, Karen Bell was hurt while a passenger on a motorcycle that struck a pothole in the entryway to the Sleepy Hollow State Park.  Even though Bell's notice was timely and the Park Ranger identified the pothole and investigated the claim within five days in response, the DNR argued that the claim should be dismissed because the description of the location of the pothole did not signify whether it was five minutes inside the park entrance walking or driving.

The Court dismissed this specious argument, finding the Notice, which included the police report of the incident, to have been adequate.  The Court also pointed out that in fact Bell did describe the pothole as five minutes inside the entrance by motorcycle.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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