ADRIENNE RENEE YOCHES, Individually and as Next Friend to SAMUEL JAMES YOCHES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
CITY OF DEARBORN, Defendant-Appellant, and TROY GIBSON, JODI JERGOVICH, and STEVE JERGOVICH, Plaintiffs, and ADAM FOREHAND, Defendant. LAURA JO LUBECK and RONALD LUBECK, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
CITY OF DEARBORN, Defendant-Appellant. TROY GIBSON, JODI JERGOVICH, and STEVE JERGOVICH, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
CITY OF DEARBORN and CAMP DEARBORN, Defendants-Appellants, and ADAM O'BRIEN FOREHAND, Defendant. LAUREN MARIE CALVIN and TROY RAY GIBSON, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
CITY OF DEARBORN, doing business as CAMP DEARBORN, Defendant-Appellant, and ADAM O'BRIEN FOREHAND, Defendant. CHARLOTTE BADER, Plaintiff-Appellee,
CITY OF DEARBORN, Defendant-Appellant, and ADAM FOREHAND, Defendant. CYNTHIA CIALONE Individually and as Next Friend to EMMANUELE SOUFANE, Plaintiff-Appellee,
CITY OF DEARBORN, Defendant-Appellant, and ADAM FOREHAND, Defendant. ADRIENNE RENEE YOCHES, Individually and as Next Friend to SAMUEL JAMES YOCHES, Plaintiff-Appellee, and TROY GIBSON, JODI JERGOVICH, and STEVE JERGOVICH, Plaintiffs, and CYNTHIA CIALONE, Individually and as Next Friend to EMMANUELLE SOUFANE, Plaintiff/Counter- Defendant/Appellee,
CITY OF DEARBORN, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff/Third- Party Plaintiff-Appellant, and ADAM FOREHAND, Defendant, and HENRY FORD COMMUNITY COLLEGE SUPPORT STAFF ASSOCIATION, Third-Party Defendant-Appellee.
Circuit Court LC Nos. 2014-140398-NO, 2014-140410-NO,
2014-141218-NO, 2014-141760-NO, 2014-142520-NO,
Before: O'Brien, P.J., and Jansen and Stephens, JJ.
consolidated cases arise from a hayride accident at
"Camp Dearborn" in Milford Township. In Docket Nos.
330998, 331137, 331139, 331144, 331147, and 331149,
defendant, the City of Dearborn ("the City"),
appeals as of right the trial court's opinion and order
denying its motion for summary disposition pursuant to MCR
2.116(C)(7). The City argues that the trial court erred by
concluding that the motor vehicle exception, MCL 691.1405, to
governmental immunity under the Governmental Tort Liability
Act ("GTLA"), MCL 691.1401 et seq.,
applied. In Docket No. 331630, the City appeals by leave
granted the trial court's opinion and order dismissing
the City's third-party complaint against Henry Ford
Community College Support Staff Association ("the
Association") pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(10). Yoches v
City of Dearborn, unpublished order of the Court of
Appeals entered on July 27, 2016 (Docket No. 331630). The
City argues that the trial court erred by concluding that a
"hold harmless agreement" was unenforceable as a
matter of law due to a lack of consideration. For the reasons
set forth below, we affirm.
City owns and operates Camp Dearborn, a recreational facility
located in Milford Township. The Association is a labor
organization representing employees of Henry Ford Community
College. Plaintiffs are members of the Association. Plaintiff
Cynthia Cialone is a volunteer member of the
Association's social committee. Cialone acted as liaison
in coordinating the "Fall Festival, " an event to
be held for the Association's members and their families
at Camp Dearborn on October 27th, 2013. As liaison, Cialone
reserved a chalet at the facility, contracted with vendors to
provide goods and services during the festival, and reserved
two wagons for hayrides. Immediately before the hayrides were
to begin on October 27, Scott Schier, the City's employee
who drove one of the tractors pulling the hay wagons,
approached the group and asked who was "in charge."
Cialone identified herself as that person. At Schier's
request, Cialone signed what was referred to as a hold
harmless agreement apparently on behalf of the Association.
The agreement provided, in relevant part, as follows:
In consideration for permission to participate in the Fall
Hayrides at Camp Dearborn, the below-listed organization
agrees to RELEASE AND FOREVER DISCHARGE the City of Dearborn,
a municipal corporation, and its officers, departments,
employees, and agents from any and all claims, liabilities,
or lawsuits, including legal costs and attorney fees,
resulting from the use of any City property or in any
connection with the hayrides at Camp Dearborn.
The below-listed organization hereby agrees to defend,
indemnify, and hold harmless the City of Dearborn, its
officers, agents, departments and employees from and against
any and all claims and causes of action of any kind arising
out of or in connection with the organization's or any of
the organization's participants' involvement in the
hayrides at Camp Dearborn.
Knowing, understand, and fully appreciating all possible
risks, the below-listed organization does hereby expressly,
voluntarily, and willingly assume all risk of dangers
associated with its participation or any of its
participants' involvement in the hayrides at Camp
Dearborn. These risks could result in damage to property,
personal and/or bodily injury or death to the
organization's individual participants.
The organization acknowledges that if it has minor
participants, the minors' parents or guardians have
granted specific permission for the minors to participate in
the hayrides at Camp Dearborn.
The authorized signor acknowledges that he/she has advised
the organization's participants of this agreement, the
risks involved in the activity, and has the authority to
enter into this agreement on behalf of the organization and
the organization's participants.
these paragraphs, the agreement warned as follows: "THIS
IS A RELEASE READ BEFORE SIGNING." In a section of the
form designated for the organization's name, Cialone
signed her name and then wrote the Association's address
and phone number. In a section for the "[a]uthorized
signor's name, address, and telephone number, "
Cialone signed her name and printed her name and home
Cialone completed the agreement, the hayrides began. During
the rides, one of the hay wagons tipped over, and several
participants were injured as a result. According to
plaintiffs, defendant Adam Forehand, the City's employee
who drove the tractor that pulled the hay wagon that tipped
over, was intoxicated and driving recklessly at the time of
the accident. Consequently, plaintiffs brought a series of
lawsuits against the City and Forehand. Plaintiffs'
lawsuits alleged claims for negligence, gross negligence,
intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent
infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiffs also alleged
that the City was vicariously liable for Forehand's
negligence. In response to plaintiffs' lawsuit, the City
moved for summary disposition on the ground that governmental
immunity under the GTLA barred plaintiffs' claims. The
City also filed a third-party complaint and counter-complaint
against the Association and Cialone, claiming that the
Association was bound by the hold harmless agreement
discussed above. Alternatively, the City argued that, in the
event the Association was not bound by the agreement, the
agreement was nevertheless binding against Cialone in her
individual capacity. The City and the Association also filed
cross-motions for summary disposition regarding enforcement
of the hold harmless agreement. With respect to the
City's motion for summary disposition on plaintiffs'
claims, the trial court concluded that the tractor that
pulled the hay wagon constituted a motor vehicle for purposes
of the motor vehicle exception to governmental immunity. It
therefore denied the City's motion for summary
disposition on plaintiffs' claims. With respect to the
City's and the Association's cross-motions for
summary disposition regarding enforcement of the hold
harmless agreement, the trial court concluded that the
agreement was unenforceable as a matter of law due to a lack
of consideration. It therefore denied the City's motion
for summary disposition and granted the Association's
motion for summary disposition. As indicated above, the City
challenges both orders on appeal.
Docket Nos. 330998, 331137, 331139, 331144, 331147, and
331149, the City argues that the trial court erred by
concluding that the tractor that pulled the hay wagon was a
motor vehicle for purposes of the motor vehicle exception to
governmental immunity. We disagree.
application of governmental immunity is a question of law
subject to de novo review. Seldon v Suburban Mobility
Auth for Regional Transp, 297 Mich.App. 427, 433; 824
N.W.2d 318 (2012). A court may grant summary disposition
pursuant MCR 2.116(C)(7) if the moving party is entitled to
"immunity granted by law." Odom v Wayne
Co, 482 Mich. 459, 466; 760 N.W.2d 217 (2008).
"When reviewing a motion under MCR 2.116(C)(7), this
Court must accept all well-pleaded allegations as true and
construe them in favor of the plaintiff, unless other
evidence contradicts them." Dextrom v Wexford
Co, 287 Mich.App. 406, 428; 789 N.W.2d 211 (2010).
"If any affidavits, depositions, admissions, or other
documentary evidence are submitted, the court must consider
them to determine whether there is a genuine issue of
material fact." Id. at 429. "If no facts
are in dispute, and if reasonable minds could not differ
regarding the legal effect of those facts, the question of
whether the claim is barred is an issue of law for the
court." Id. "[I]f a question of fact
exists to the extent that factual development could provide a
basis for recovery, dismissal is inappropriate."
Id. This issue also involves the interpretation and
application of a statute. "Issues concerning the proper
interpretation of statutes are questions of law that we
review de novo." Dressel v Ameribank, 468 Mich.
557, 561; 664 N.W.2d 151 (2003). "It is the cardinal
principle of statutory construction that courts must give
effect to legislative intent. When reviewing a statute,
courts must first examine the language of the statute. If the
intent of the Legislature is clearly expressed by the
language, no further construction is warranted."
Id. at 562.
"a governmental agency is immune from tort liability if
the governmental agency is engaged in the exercise or
discharge of a governmental function." MCL 691.1407(1).
There are, however, exceptions to this general rule.
Specifically, the trial court held that the motor vehicle
exception set forth ...