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Swindlehurst Gains Summary Disposition as City Had Governmental Immunity Where There Was No Notice of Alleged Defect/Risk of Injury

November 14, 2018

Cara Swindlehurst (Associate-Michigan) obtained summary disposition in Wayne County Third Circuit Court in a case involving a spectator at a hockey game who was struck in the face by a puck. The plaintiff and co-defendant hockey player argued that the owner of the sports facility should be held liable where there was no protective netting separating spectators from the office area. Cara argued that governmental immunity applies where the owner of the sports facility is engaged in a non-proprietary function and had no notice of the alleged defect, and further that Michigan law does not permit allegations of a design defect as an exception to governmental immunity, only a failure to maintain and/or repair. The motion also argued that the owner of the facility met its limited duty owed to sports spectators and that Michigan’s open and obvious defense applied. The judge ultimately granted Cara’s motion for summary disposition finding that governmental immunity existed where there was no notice of defect. The court did not extend its opinion to other legal defenses, where governmental immunity was sufficient to dismiss all claims against the client.   

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