Woman Injured on Michigan Trail Loses Supreme Court Case

August 4, 2011

The Michigan Supreme Court says the state has no obligation to maintain a northern Michigan trail, dismissing a lawsuit by a woman who sued after suffering serious back injuries when her off-road vehicle hit a partially buried board.

In a 4-3 decision, the court’s conservative majority said Saturday that the unpaved Little Manistee Trail in Lake County is not a road or highway, a designation that would require the state to maintain it. The court says it reached that conclusion with “little difficulty.”

The three dissenting justices, led by Marilyn Kelly, accused the majority of botching a simple case of statutory interpretation. They noted that the trail has many signs that qualify it as a highway, including stop signs, weight limits and curve warnings.

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