Michigan Case Law Update: DeMartin v. University of Michigan Regents


DeMartin v. University of Michigan Regents

2015 WL 2412450 (May 19, 2015)

This is a governmental immunity case where the issue is whether the public building exception applies to defeat governmental immunity. In this case, the Plaintiff and her daughter were leaving the University of Michigan Dental Clinic through an automatic door operated by a push button device. Before the Plaintiff could clear the door, it began to close, striking the Plaintiff on her right shoulder and knocking her down to the ground. The door had its hydraulic closing mechanism replaced in March of 2012 due to reports that the door was slamming closed. A police officer who responded to the scene did not detect any abnormal operation of the door. The Court of appeals dismissed the case finding that the building exception to governmental immunity did not apply. The court noted that the Plaintiff failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact as to whether a defect existed in the door that struck her. Although a work order

indicated that the door was fixed in March of 2012, there was no evidence that the door remained defective in April of 2012 when the Plaintiff sustained her injury. Finally, the Court stated that the Defendant was not aware of any defect or that Defendant failed to repair it.

Patrick R. Sturdy is a partner in our Livonia office where he concentrates his practice on intellectual property, business law, education law, and employment and labor law. He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or psturdy@cmda-law.com.