Case dismissed against former CMU ROTC instructor who alleged lead poisoning from Finch Fieldhouse gun range
After allegedly getting lead poisoning from the rifle range under Finch Fieldhouse, a former Central Michigan University ROTC instructor had his case dismissed after filing too late.
Gowen native Mike Brewer, as previously reported by Central Michigan Life, filed a lawsuit against the Board of Trustees alleging he was exposed to toxic levels of lead, which resulted in negative neurological symptoms.
Brewer’s case was filed in a Lansing court Sept. 6, 2011, seeking more than $25,000, in addition to costs, interest and attorney fees. Brewer was employed at CMU in June 1995 as an instructor of weapons use and safety for the ROTC program. His office was located inside the indoor rifle range. He alleges his neurological symptoms forced him to retire from the U.S. Armed Forces in April 1998.
Rick Dimanin, Brewer’s Southfield-based attorney, said Thursday the courts threw out the case because the notice of injury was not filed on time.
Although Brewer did not file his case within three years of the time he was injured, the requirement under the statute of limitations, Dimanin said they alleged concealment was a factor in the case, which would extend the statute of limitations.
“We alleged that Central concealed Brewer’s claim from him and we had proof that Central knew that the range was contaminated but they did not inform anyone of that fact, including Brewer,” he said.
Dimanin said because CMU is a state agency, Brewer was required to give the university notice of the injury within 120 days. Notice of Brewer’s injury was given within 120 days, he said, but the courts said even though concealment was a factor, it would not extend the notice of injury time limit.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Dimanin said.
CMU’s General Counsel Manuel Rupe said in an email that CMU is pleased the Michigan Court of Claims granted CMU’s motion for summary disposition on Aug. 29. He said the court dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, and CMU has not received any notice of appeal.
An appeal will be filed within 21 days, and Dimanin said he anticipates some decision by the court of appeals by next year.