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Workman injured on Community College sidewalk cannot pursue claim

Brian Little was employed by a sub-contractor working inside a building on the campus of Macomb Community College.  He and a co-worker were making several trips inside the building, carrying equipment used in the renovation, when he fractured an ankle in a fall on ice.  He made a claim against the general contractor and the College, arguing that they were responsible for eliminating hazards on the sidewalk.

Litten's injury claim was dismissed and the Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal.  It ruled that the college was immune from liability because the sidewalk did not come within the "public building" exception and also was not "adjacent to a highway" because it was merely adjacent to a "drive...used to move from one roadway to another."

The Court held that the general contractor was not responsible for hazard removal because the hazard did not pose a significant risk to enough workers.  Furthermore, the Court ruled that Litten's attorneys could not show that the contractor, Barton Malow, was in control of the sidewalk where the contractor had disputed possession in an affidavit and Litten's attorneys relied only on the college's pleadings to dispute the contractor's affidavit.

Finally, the court held that Litten's attorneys could not re-open discovery after the stipulated deadline had passed.  The plaintiff's attorneys had argued that it did not notice additional discovery because it relied in good faith on depostions that various defendants had initially noticed, but then failed to execute.

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