The Michigan Court of Appeals determined that the City of Pontiac was entitled to summary disposition of plaintiff’s claim brought pursuant to the highway exception to governmental immunity. The court reversed and remanded the trial court’s decision because plaintiff’s claim failed to specify the exact location of the alleged defect.
The plaintiff alleged that he tripped on a portion of the sidewalk that was in disrepair. The plaintiff notified the City in writing of the incident, stating that it occurred “while walking east on Huron Street,” at “35 Huron, Pontiac, Michigan.”
The plaintiff brought this claim under the highway exception to governmental immunity. MCL 691.1402(1). However, to bring a claim under this exception, the plaintiff must properly notify the defendant of the injury. MCL 691.1404(1). The notice must “specify the exact location and nature of the defect, the injury sustained and the names of the witnesses known at the time by the claimant.” MCL 691.1404(1).
Defendant moved for summary disposition pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(7), on the basis of governmental immunity, arguing that the plaintiff failed to comply with MCL 691.1401(1) because the notice lacked sufficient detail. The notice merely stated that the alleged injury occurred at 35 Huron, Pontiac, Michigan. It failed to state whether it was East or West Huron, of which both are legitimate addresses. Additionally, there was no indication as to whether the alleged defect was on the north or south side of the street. Finally, photographs provided of the location of the alleged defect did not cure the otherwise-deficient notice. The photographs were provided to the City after the 120 day period and therefore cannot be part of the required notice.