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Woman cannot sue City of Battle Creek after collision with front-end loader

Carolyn House's car struck a John Deere 710D front-end loader owned by the City of Battle Creek.  She sued the City for negligence, alleging personal injuries from the collision. She also sued her own auto insurer, Farm Bureau, for PIP expenses (medical and limited wages, basically).  The trial judge ruled that a front-end loader is not a "motor vehicle" under the pertinent exception to governmental immunity:  if it wasn't a motor vehicle, the City was immune from any negligence in its operation and was dismmissed from the action.

The trial judge also refused to allow House to put into evidence any documentation of her medical expenses incurred after filing the complaint.  The jury held that House suffered no injuries in the collision and denied her the right to recover even the ambulance bill.  Apparently one juror may have attempted to "surveil" House to make an out-of-court assessment of her condition.   Ms. House appealed all of these decisions and the trial result.

The Court of Appeals decided the ultimate outcome was "not inconsistent with substantial justice."  It refused House's requested investigation of juror misconduct; agreed that the front-end loader is not a "motor vehicle;" decided to overlook the erroneous decision limiting medical damage expenses, and concluded that the juror was within its rights in deciding that the ambulance bill wasn't a legiitimate medical expense.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262