The Taichung Branch of the Taiwan High Court rendered the 106-Shang-Guo-2 Civil Decision of May 16, 2018 (hereinafter, this “Decision”), holding that for an external incident which accidentally happens on a section of road at a time outside of the regular inspection schedule, if the handling by the administrative agency concerned does not exceed a reasonable period of time, it should not be concluded that there is any management deficiency.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that he was injured when he rode through the road section at issue and fell due to a long strip of oil stain on the surface of the road (hereinafter, the “Incident at Issue”). The road section was a public infrastructure whose cleanliness should be maintained by the Defendant, i.e., the Taichung City Environmental Protection Department, pursuant to law in order to ensure the safety of road access by road users. Since the cleanup delay translated into obvious management deficiencies, a complaint was filed to seek national compensation. After the original trial court rendered a decision against the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff appealed.
According to this Decision, Defendants’ materials such as the Operating Flow Chart for the Disposal of Uncollected Trash on Roads and the Explanation Table showed that the road cleanup work of the Taichung City Environmental Protection Department consisted of general cleanups and special cleanups upon reporting of the cleanup needs. For general cleanups, the cleaners in this matter all followed the schedule set forth in the daily maintenance report and such efforts should be sufficient to eliminate daily dirt on the road section at issue. For special cleanups conducted upon reporting, since they are incurred by occasional and external incidents at a time outside the above regular inspection schedule, they certainly could not be foreseen and timely eliminated by the Defendant. To determine the sufficiency of management, whether the Defendant conducted the cleanup timely upon knowledge should be considered. It was not over 34 minutes between the reporting of the incident and the completion of onsite cleanup by the dispatched personnel in this matter. Considering the fact that cleanup personnel were also required to first prepare relevant oil stain removal tools and spend time in transportation with the time spent not exceeding relevant requirements, such action obviously did not exceed a reasonable period of time. This shows that upon receipt of the report, the Defendant took immediate cleanup measures to remove the oil stain. Therefore, there was no basis for finding management deficiency. The Plaintiff’s appeal was dismissed and the decision against the Plaintiff was upheld.