Amicus Brief

Mohamed Mawri v City of Dearborn

Case Year: 2010
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: notice, two-inch rule, natural accumulation doctrine, highway exception, governmental immunity, Governmental Tort Liability Act (GTLA), actual prejudice
Amicus Counsel:

Rosalind Rochkind (P23504) | Garan Lucow Miller, P.C. | 1000 Woodbridge Street | Detroit, MI 48207-3108 | 313-446-5522 | [email protected]

CoAmicus Parties:

1. Michigan Municipal League Liability and Property Pool (Pool)
2. Michigan Townships Association (MTA)


A plaintiff may not file suit against a municipality under MCL 691.1402 unless notice, as described by MCL 691.1404, is given that includes information concerning the exact nature and location of the defect that produces liability. The highway exception waives governmental immunity, but it is a very narrow waiver, and there must be strict compliance with the conditions of the statute in order for it to be waived. One such condition is the aforementioned notice of injury requirement. Plaintiff allegedly injured himself when he fell while walking down a sidewalk in Dearborn. His attorney notified the City within the time limitations and adequately described the injury, but failed to disclose the correct exact location or the nature of the defect. Because the substance of the notice did not comply with the statute, the City’s immunity was not avoided, and therefore the suit is barred. Plaintiff’s argument that the police report makes up for the information lacking in the report has no merit because it was not part of, nor can it supplant or amend, the statutory notice required by the statute. Additionally, the injured person, or someone acting on behalf of the injured person, did not serve the police report on appropriate city personnel in order to satisfy the notice requirement. Moreover, substantial compliance does not suffice, and even if it did, the notice provided was not substantial because it was devoid of any explanation of a defect in the sidewalk, and contained the wrong location. Therefore, reasonable notice was not given to the city. Furthermore, Plaintiff’s argument concerning actual prejudice is irrelevant as there is no actual prejudice requirement, but if there were, actual prejudice is present whenever an injured party fails to provide the city with adequate notice by failing to describe the injury or location thereof. The GTLA provides immunity from suit, not simply from liability. In conclusion, allowing this complaint to go forward will expand what is intended to be a narrow exception to governmental immunity.


Michigan Supreme Court:
On order of the Court, leave to appeal having been granted and the briefs and oral arguments of the parties having been considered by the Court, we VACATE our order of
December 18, 2009. The application for leave to appeal the August 6, 2009 judgment of the Court of Appeals is DENIED, because we are no longer persuaded that the questions
presented should be reviewed by this Court.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No

Plaintiff fell on an icy sidewalk near his home on March 2, 2006, and injured his hip. On May 26, 2006, plaintiffs counsel provided defendant with a letter purporting to be notice of the
incident. Defendant moved for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(7) and (C)(10), arguing, among other things, that the notice was legally insufficient. The circuit court denied the motion, holding that plaintiff had complied with the statutory notice requirement because the police investigated and took pictures, and city workers had “tagged the sidewalk” some time before the accident.

Case Number: 2009-11
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