House committee to take up sidewalk defects

If you don’t already know how to walk and chew gum at the same time, now would be a great time to learn to do that. Because you certainly won’t want to trip after House Bill 4589 becomes a law.

The Michigan House Judiciary Committee will discuss on May 12 the bill that would clarify a municipality’s immunity when it has maintained its sidewalks.

House Bill 4589 would amend 1964 PA 170 to state:

In a civil action, a municipal corporation is presumed to have maintained a sidewalk that it has a duty to maintain in reasonable repair. This presumption may only be rebutted by evidence of specific facts showing that the proximate cause of the injury was 1 of the following:
(A) A vertical discontinuity defect of 2 inches or more in the sidewalk.
(B) A dangerous condition in the sidewalk itself of a particular character other than a discontinuity.
(3) Whether a presumption under subsection (2) has been rebutted is a question of law for the court.

The bill was introduced by Republican representatives Patrick Somerville, of New Boston; Paul Opsommer of Dewitt; Mike Shirkey of Clarklake; John Walsh of Livonia, who also chairs the committee; and Paul Muxlow of Brown City.

The committee will discuss the bill at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 12 at 521 House Office Building in downtown Lansing.


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