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157097 - Faytreon Onee West v City of Detroit


Faytreon Onee West,


Keith Banka





(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)



(Wayne – Murphy, J.)


City of Detroit,


Sheri Whyte





Plaintiff filed a complaint against the City of Detroit pursuant to the Governmental Tort Liability Act (GTLA), MCL 691.1401 et seq., alleging that she was injured after tripping on a pothole and falling. The city moved for summary disposition, asserting that plaintiff had failed to meet the GTLA’s notice requirement in MCL 691.1404(2), which provides that “notice may be served upon any individual, either personally, or by certified mail, return receipt requested, who may lawfully be served with civil process directed against the governmental agency.” Plaintiff had directed her notice to the City of Detroit Law Department, not to any individual. The trial court granted summary disposition to the city, finding that service on its law department, rather than an individual, did not meet the statutory notice requirement. In an unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed in light of Wigfall v City of Detroit, 322 Mich App 36 (2017). The Supreme Court has directed oral argument on plaintiff’s application for leave to appeal to address: (1) whether strict or substantial compliance is required with the notice provision contained within MCL 691.1404(2), compare Rowland v Washtenaw County Road Commission, 477 Mich 197 (2007), with Plunkett v Dep’t of Transportation, 286 Mich App 168 (2009); (2) whether the plaintiff’s notice failed to comply with MCL 691.1404(2) under either a strict or substantial compliance standard; (3) whether the Legislature’s use of the word “shall” in MCL 691.1404(1) and the word “may” in MCL 691.1404(2) indicates that service on an individual is not the only method of serving proper notice, and (4) whether an individual described in MCR 2.105(G)(2) can delegate the legal authority to accept lawful process under MCL 691.1404(2), see 1 Mich Civ Jur Agency § 1 (2018).  This case will be heard at the same session as Wigfall v City of Detroit (No. 156793). ​