Governor Signs Bills Protecting Cities From Sidewalk Lawsuits

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation to further shield municipalities from lawsuits filed by people who trip and fall on sidewalks. The law enacted Wednesday lets cities defend themselves by saying sidewalk defects are “open and obvious.”
Supporters say Detroit pays millions annually in sidewalk-injury settlements and should have a defense that is available to businesses. The Michigan Association of Justice, a group of plaintiff’s attorneys, had called for a veto, saying the bill effectively make cities entirely immune and removes incentives to maintain sidewalks. Under existing law, cities aren’t liable unless someone proves the city knew or should have known about the defect at least 30 days before the injury and the unevenness in the walkway is at least 2 inches.