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140322 - Pollard v Suburban Mobility Authority

William Pollard,
Joseph H. Howitt
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Wayne – Ziolkowski, R.)
Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, d/b/a SMART,
Hal O. Carroll


​William Pollard boarded a Detroit bus on the morning of August 5, 2007. When the bus lurched forward, Pollard fell and was injured. The bus driver called an ambulance, which transported Pollard to a hospital. Pollard was treated for a hip fracture, and also suffered a heart attack. After the incident, an agent of Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation sent Pollard a claim form. Pollard did not complete and return the form; instead, he sued SMART on November 7, 2007, claiming that the bus driver negligently operated the bus, causing him to fall. He also claimed that he was entitled to no-fault benefits. The complaint was served on SMART on November 14, 2007.


SMART filed a motion for partial summary disposition, arguing that the negligence claim was barred by MCL 124.419 and Rowland v Washtenaw County Road Commission, 477 Mich 197 (2007). MCL 124.419 provides: “All claims that may arise in connection with the transportation authority shall be presented as ordinary claims against a common carrier of passengers for hire: Provided, That written notice of any claim based upon injury to persons or property shall be served upon the authority no later than 60 days from the occurrence through which such injury is sustained and the disposition thereof shall rest in the discretion of the authority and all claims that may be allowed and final judgment obtained shall be liquidated from funds of the authority: Provided, further, That only the courts situated in the counties in which the authority principally carries on its function are the proper counties in which to commence and try action against the authority.” In Rowland, the Michigan Supreme Court held that a different statutory notice provision, at MCL 691.1404, must be enforced as written. SMART argued that, under MCL 124.419 and Rowland, the negligence claim must be dismissed due to Pollard’s failure to comply with the statutory notice requirement. The trial court denied SMART’s motion for partial summary disposition, but the Court of Appeals reversed in an unpublished per curiam opinion. The panel agreed with SMART that, under the language of the statute, Pollard was obligated to give SMART notice of his claim within 60 days, and that he did not do so. Pollard appeals.