BURTON, Michigan — A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the city by the father of a 15-year-old Davison Township boy who died after being struck by a vehicle in March 2010 on Court Street.

Davison High School freshman Evan Anger was riding his bike across a catwalk over Interstate 69 on March 26 and across East Court Street South when he was struck by a 2001 Dodge Ram driven by Daniel Wells.

Casey Anger, Evan’s father, filed the suit asking for more than $25,000 from the driver — no relation to Burton City Councilman Danny Wells — who struck his son, the City of Burton and Department of Public Works director Gregory Kray.
The suit, filed by attorney Terry Cochran on behalf of the Anger family, alleges the city failed to properly maintain and/or remove a black asphalt patch leading from a sidewalk directly onto East Court Street that allowed bicyclists to go from the sidewalk to the street.

Wells’ attorney, Daniel Collison, declined comment on the pending litigation.

Audrey Forbush, attorney for Burton and Kray, said several depositions have been taken in the case.
“We are in the early stages,” said Forbush. “I anticipate the city will be filing a motion for summary disposition because of governmental immunity.”

The basis for the dismissal would be the plaintiff’s failure to show there was a defective condition in the area and the city’s negligence, she said.

Attorney Terry Cochran, representing the Anger family, called governmental immunity “one of the more unfair practices” in law.

“It’s not that they didn’t do anything wrong, but it’s just that you can’t sue them,” said Cochran, who argued the city and Kray knew of an issue in the area six months prior to Evan’s death and didn’t install additional fencing in the area until after the incident.

Among those subpoenaed is Burton resident John M. Dunlap, whose 16-year-old son John H. Dunlap was injured after he struck by a vehicle in September 2009 in the same location.
Dunlap raised concerns about the Court Street crossing to the Burton City Council on Sept. 8, 2009 following his son’s accident.

“The way I feel is that the city of Burton could have done something by closing off that catwalk and say closed until further notice,” Dunlap said then.
“If an official fails to act or doesn’t act and that act is grossly negligent, that individual does not have immunity,” Cochran said. “Our argument is straightforward.”

Forbush said “It is an unfortunate accident and I feel bad for the family, but I think there is a strong legal defense the city and Mr. Kray have available.”

No court date has yet been set.