|Case Forum:||Michigan Supreme Court|
|Keywords:||building exception, Government Tort Liability Act (GTLA), governmental immunity, dangerous or defective condition, fixtures analysis|
Rosalind Rochkind (P23504) | Garan Lucow Miller, P.C. | 1000 Woodbridge Street | Detroit, MI 48207-3108 | 313-446-5522 | [email protected]
1. Michigan Municipal League Liability and Property Pool (Pool)
Plaintiff filed suit against the City of Southgate after she tripped and fell on a gap between the driveway of a public building and the ground, located 17.5 feet away from the building. Amicus counsel argues that, ordinarily, cities are given broad protection from suit and liability under MCL 691.1406, and that the public building exception that plaintiff brings her claim under is to be interpreted narrowly. Plaintiff contends that had the lights on the public building illuminated the area, she would not have been injured. However, counsel argues that lights do not meet the definition of a “dangerous or defective condition of a public building” language in the statute because the lights were not even supposed to illuminate the area in question; the danger was presented by the area outside of the building, not by the building itself; and the darkness was a transitory condition. The purpose of the public building exception is to ensure that public buildings are maintained for safety reasons, but since fixing the driveway would have resolved the issue, there was no building defect to rectify. Additionally, the exception does not apply to adjacent areas. Even if, under a “fixtures analysis,” the lights are considered part of the public building, the scenario presented in this case is not covered. The decision of the Court of Appeals departs significantly from precedent, and expands the public building exception. Counsel respectfully requests the Court to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals.
The application for leave to appeal the May 19, 2011 judgment of the Court of Appeals is considered, and it is DENIED, because we are not persuaded that the questions presented should now be reviewed by this Court.
|MSC requested LDF amicus brief?||No|
Plaintiff filed suit against the City of Southgate after she tripped and fell on a gap between the driveway of a public building and the ground, located 17.5 feet away from the building.