Levendoski v. Geisenhaver

Decision Date09 April 1965
Docket NumberNo. 53,53
Citation375 Mich. 225,134 N.W.2d 228
PartiesJoseph LEVENDOSKI and Myrtle Levendoski, Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. Rollen GEISENHAVER and Ruth Geisenhaver, Defendants and Appellees.
CourtMichigan Supreme Court

Eggenberger, Eggenberger & Ashton, Detroit, for defendants and appellees.

L. Edwin Wenger, Harper Woods, for plaintiffs and appellants, Ray H. Boman, Harper Woods, of counsel.

Before KAVANAGH, C. J., and DETHMERS, KELLY, BLACK, SOURIS, SMITH, O'HARA and ADAMS, JJ.

PER CURIAM.

Plaintiff Myrtle Levendoski sustained injuries from a fall allegedly resulting from a defective sidewalk adjoining property owned by the defendants. Plaintiffs brought suit on the theory that defendants breached a duty to them imposed by Ordinance No. 34, section 3, of the City of Warren. It provides:

'No person shall permit any sidewalk which adjoins property owned by him to fall into a state of disrepair or be unsafe.'

Defendants were granted summary judgment on the ground that the ordinance does not create a cause of action against an abutting property owner in favor of one injured by a defective sidewalk.

In the absence of a statute or ordinance to the contrary, the general rule is that there is no duty on an adjoining owner to keep a sidewalk in repair. City of Detroit v. Chaffee, 70 Mich. 80, 85, 37 N.W. 882; 88 A.L.R.2d 331, 340. Grooms v. Union Guardian Trust Co., 309 Mich. 437, 15 N.W.2d 698, held that an ordinance of the type involved here does not change the general rule. In that case the ordinance read:

'No person * * * shall permit any snow or ice to remain on the sdewalks in the front, rear or sides of any house * * * owned * * * by him * * * longer than 24 hours after it has fallen or formed.'

The Court approved the rule announced in Taylor v. Lake Shore & Mich. Southern Railroad Co., 45 Mich. 74, 7 N.W. 728:

'* * * an ordinance requiring all persons to keep their sidewalks free from ice imposes a purely public duty, and persons injured by slipping on the ice cannot bring private actions against the owners of the premises.'

This is in accord with the weight of American law. 88 A.L.R.2d 331, 354. An ordinance of the type involved here does result in liability when it expressly provides for such liability. 88 A.L.R.2d 331, 358.

The rule is stated in 63 C.J.S. Municipal Corporations § 861, p. 227, as follows:

'Liability of an abutting owner or occupant for injuries to a traveler through failure to maintain a sidewalk in repair ordinarily will not grow out of statutes or ordinances requiring him to construct or repair...

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18 cases
  • Quinlivan v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Inc.
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • 25 Noviembre 1975
    ...governmental unit and is statutorily defined. M.C.L.A. § 691.1401 Et seq.; M.S.A. § 3.996(101) Et seq., and Levendoski v. Geisenhaver, 375 Mich. 225, 134 N.W.2d 228 (1965). Decision of the case at hand does not require us to address the scope of the statutory duty owed the user of public st......
  • Haaksma v. City of Grand Rapids
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • 19 Octubre 2001
    ...to repair and maintain an abutting public sidewalk. Detroit v. Chaffee, 70 Mich. 80, 85, 37 N.W. 882 (1888); Levendoski v. Geisenhaver, 375 Mich. 225, 227, 134 N.W.2d 228 (1965). Such an obligation arises only when it is imposed pursuant to authority granted by the state. Chaffee, 70 Mich. ......
  • Mendyk v. Michigan Employment Sec. Commission
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • 19 Diciembre 1979
    ...involved governmental unit and is statutorily defined. MCLA § 691.1401 Et seq.; MSA § 3.996(101), Et seq., and Levendoski v. Geisenhaver, 375 Mich. 225, 134 N.W.2d 228 (1965). Decision of the case at hand does not require us to address the scope of the statutory duty owed the user of public......
  • Bard v. Weathervane of Michigan
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • 17 Enero 1974
    ...Co., 45 Mich. 74, 7 N.W. 728 (1881); Grooms v. Union Guardian Trust Co., 309 Mich. 437, 15 N.W.2d 698 (1944); Levendoski v. Geisenhaver, 375 Mich. 225, 134 N.W.2d 228 (1965); Perl v. Cohodas, Peterson, Paoli, Nast Co., 295 Mich. 325, 294 N.W. 697 (1940). From a purely factual standpoint the......
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