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01/08/76 PETERS v. DEPARTMENT STATE HIGHWAYS

January 8, 1976

PETERS
v.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE HIGHWAYS



Appeal from the Court of Claims, Willard L. Mikesell, J.

Quinn, P. J., and R. B. Burns and D. E. Holbrook, Jr., JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Torts -- Sovereign Immunity -- Statutes -- Interpretation -- Strict Construction.

Statutory language depriving a state of its immunity from liability for its torts should be strictly construed, but all parts of the statute are to be given effect and all words are to be given their common meaning (MCLA 8.3a; MSA 2.212[1]).

2. Torts -- Sovereign Immunity -- States -- Waiver -- Statutes.

The state is generally immune from tort liability unless an express statutory exception applies (MCLA 691.1407; MSA 3.996[107]).

3. Torts -- Sovereign Immunity -- States -- Statutes -- Waiver -- Automobiles -- Requirements.

A statute defining the tort liability of the state for automobile negligence involving state vehicles requires that the vehicle be operated by an officer, employee or agent of the state and that the vehicle be owned by the state; unless both requirements are met, the statute does not apply (MCLA 600.6475; MSA 27A.6475).

4. Automobiles -- Owner's Negligence -- Torts -- Employer's Liability.

The tort liability imposed on the owner of a motor vehicle is similar to that imposed on an employer for the torts of his employee, but they are not the same.

5. Automobiles -- Ownership Liability -- Necessary Relationships -- Statutes.

To be an owner for purposes of motor vehicle liability it is necessary to have one of the following relationships with the motor vehicle: (1) exclusive control over the vehicle for 30 days, (2) legal title to the vehicle, or (3) be a conditional vendee, lessee or mortgagor with immediate right to possession (MCLA 257.37; MSA 9.1837).

6. Automobiles -- States -- Reimbursement for Use -- Leases.

State reimbursement of an employee for the use of his automobile does not create a lease arrangement ...


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