Amicus Curiae Brief Filed in Hagerty v. Manistee County Board of Road Commissioners

Attached is the amicus curiae brief I prepared and filed on behalf of the Michigan Municipal League’s Legal Defense Fund in conjunction with the Michigan Municipal League Liability and Property Pool (MMLLPP), the Michigan Townships Association (MTA), Wayne County, Macomb County, and Oakland County.

The case is Hagerty et al. v. Manistee County Road Commission, Supreme Court Docket No. 146047, which is seeking to challenge a Court of Appeals ruling concerning application of the “highway exception” to governmental immunity.

The Court of Appeals held that a “dust cloud” that transpired on a dirt road, which was allegedly caused by a motorist traveling in the opposite direction, was sufficient to implicate the highway exception to governmental immunity. MCL 691.1402.   The Court of Appeals held that the dust cloud was caused by the negligence of the county because of the condition of the roadway.  The panel also concludes that under these circumstances a “dust cloud” qualified as an arguable “defect” in the roadway within the meaning of the highway exception to governmental immunity.  MCL 691.1402(1).

However, as pointed out in my brief, a well-developed body of jurisprudence places significant limits on the ability to pursue claims against the government for alleged defects in highways.  In fact, the Supreme Court has defined “defect” in a manner which requires a demonstration that the defect is persistent, exists at all times in the actual roadbed, and that it be the sole cause of the alleged injury.  There are also additional limitations on both the definition of “roadbed” and the manner in which a person can successfully plead a cause of action under the highway exception.

Based on this jurisprudence, I argue that the Court of Appeals goes too far in concluding that an alleged dust cloud, kicked up by an alleged passing motorist, obscured the decedent’s vision causing her to crash.

You can read more about the lawsuit in my previous blog about the case, which contains the Court of Appeals opinion link here: Court of Appeals Decision in Hagerty v. Manistee County Road Commission

Here is the brief I filed in the Supreme Court:  (FINAL) (MML) Amicus Brief

About cjtucker06

Owner of law firm since July 2014; Handles all types of appellate matters and assists other lawyers with complex litigation and insurance coverage issues; Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the State Bar of Michigan; Expertise in prosecuting and defending appeals with several significant successes in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals; Author of briefs amicus curiae in the Michigan Supreme Court for the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel and the Insurance Institute of Michigan; Represents Insurance Companies, Major International Business, Governmental Entities, Law Enforcement Officers and County Sheriffs. Board of Directors, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Military - Retired Major in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps of the United States Army, Brigade Judge Advocate and Staff JAG officer for the Maneuver Training Center, Camp Grayling, Michigan; Recipient of the Army's Meritorious Service Medal (the highest medal of honor available to Soldiers serving in non-combat roles); 2012 Graduate of the Judge Advocate Officer Advanced Course, at The Judge Advocate Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia. United States Navy Reserves, Combat Warfare Qualification, January 1989 to July 2003 Former law clerk to Justice Stephen J. Markman, Michigan Supreme Court, Research Attorney, Michigan Court of Appeals. Insurance Coverage Associate Plunkett Cooney; Environmental Law Attorney at Squire Sanders, now Squire Patton Boggs; Master's Degree in Environmental Law; Environmental Law Scholar, ALI/ABA Washington, D.C., Juris Doctorate, Vermont Law School, Environmental Editor, Vermont Law Review; Treasurer and Finalist, Moot Court Advisory Board.
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