(Lansing, MI – AP) – It’s likely to be harder to sue local governments in Michigan over a fall on a defective sidewalk. Governor Rick Snyder this week signed a law that gives local governments some extra protection: the so-called open-and-obvious defense that’s long been available to private businesses.
Under the defense, a local government can argue that a defect in a sidewalk or other public property should have been “open and obvious” to the person who was injured. It can be a tough legal threshold to overcome. Personal injury lawyers oppose the law. They say local governments now will be effectively immune to lawsuits and have no incentive to fix broken sidewalks.