Amicus Brief

Debra Hagerty v Board of County Road Commissioners of the County of Manistee

Case Year: 2013
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: highway exception, governmental immunity, tort, roads, Government Tort Liability Act (GTLA)
Amicus Counsel:

Carson J. Tucker | Lacey & Jones, LLP

CoAmicus Parties:

1. Michigan Municipal League Liability & Property Pool (Pool)
2. Michigan Townships Association (MTA)
3. Macomb County, Department of Roads
4. Oakland County Road Commission
5. Wayne County


Plaintiff alleges, and the Court of Appeals agreed, that the sudden appearance of a “dust cloud” that caused decedent’s accident falls under the highway exception to governmental immunity for tort claims. However, counsel argues that transient, non-permanent conditions that appear on roadways do not meet the requirements of the narrow exception to governmental immunity, and by allowing this the Court of Appeals has erroneously expanded the exception to the rule under the GTLA. This Court’s ruling in Paletta v Oakland County, is comprised of nearly identical facts to the present case, and as such, the legal ruling applied to those facts is the controlling rule of law, and is binding precedent. Should this decision stand, municipalities across the state will be subject to liability for every highway condition, regardless of a lack of actual or constructive notice of the condition, or of the possibility of remedy. Therefore, counsel argues that the Court of Appeals decision should be reversed.


The application for leave to appeal the September 11, 2012 judgment of the Court of Appeals is considered and, pursuant to MCR 7.302(H)(1), in lieu of granting leave to appeal, we REVERSE that portion of the Court of Appeals judgment which held that the defendant is not entitled to the protection of governmental immunity, and we VACATE the remainder of the court’s analysis because it is unnecessary to the disposition of the case.
We REMAND this case to the Manistee Circuit Court for entry of an order granting summary disposition to the defendant pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(7).

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? Yes

The plaintiff’s decedent was fatally injured when the vehicle she was driving left an unpaved road in Manistee County and hit a tree.

Case Number: 2012-09
©2022 Michigan Municipal League LLC. All rights reserved