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December 2015

Dec 2015
30
December 30, 2015

Failure to timely object to child-witness’s unsworn testimony constitutes waiver, not forfeiture, despite contrary precedent

In People v. Sardy, No. 319227, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that when a party fails to object to a child-witness’s unsworn testimony and allows the testimony to be fully developed, that party waives the swearing of the witness. MRE 603 and MCL 600.1434 require that a witness prior to testifying declare that he or she will testify truthfully. Further, Michigan Model Criminal Jury Instruction 5.9 provides that for a witness who is a young child, a promise to tell the truth satisfies the oath requirement. However, the primary question addressed by the Court of Appeals in Sardy was how to treat a failure of the prosecution to attain a promise or affirmation to tell the truth from a testifying child-victim.

Dec 2015
28
December 28, 2015

COA determines that the Public Service Commission does not have the authority to uphold a settlement agreement

In Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership v. Upper Peninsula Power Company and Michigan Public Service Commission, No. 321946, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the Michigan Public Service Commission (“PSC”) erred when it upheld a settlement agreement reached with the Upper Peninsula Power Company (“UPPC”) and dismissed a complaint filed by Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership (“Enbridge”), challenging the PSC’s approval of the settlement agreement.

Dec 2015
28
December 28, 2015

Grandparenting visitation time should only be awarded upon a clear denial of visitation by the custodial parent, says the COA

In Falconer v. Stamps, No. 323392, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that assessing grandparenting visitation time was improper when a mother received sole custody of her child just moments before the trial court granted grandparenting time because the mother had not yet denied visitation rights to the grandparent.  In addition, the court held that, absent expert testimony, awarding extensive grandparenting visitation time was improper.

Dec 2015
24
December 24, 2015

A Grand Rapids college--and many others--may miss out on a property tax exemption due to "for-profit" status

Does the property tax exemption for educational institutions apply only to non-profits, or can for-profit educational institutions take advantage of the tax break as well?  The Michigan Supreme Court will address that issue in SBC Health Midwest, Inc. v. City of Kentwood, No. 151524.  The Court of Appeals concluded that the tax exemption in MCL 211.9(1)(a) is available to for-profit educational institutions.  Having granted the City of Kentwood’s application for leave to appeal, the Michigan Supreme Court apparently sees this as a close question.  Given the public importance of this issue and the timing of the leave-grant, the court can be expected to decide the issue this term.

Dec 2015
24
December 24, 2015

MSC questions whether worker’s challenge to union agreement that offsets workers’ compensation benefits against social security disability insurance is preempted by federal law

The Michigan Supreme Court granted mini-oral argument in Arbuckle v. General Motors LLC, No. 151277, to consider whether the plaintiff’s action challenging a union agreement that offsets his worker’s compensation benefits against his social security disability insurance benefits is preempted by federal law and whether it is governed by state or federal law.

 

Dec 2015
24
December 24, 2015

MSC to review the constitutionality of the Electric Transmission Line Certification Act

The Michigan Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal in In re Application of Michigan Electric Transmission Co. for Transmission Line, No. 150695, to determine whether the Electric Transmission Line Certification Act (Act 30)--which authorizes the Public Service Commission to issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity to a utility for construction of a major transmission line--constitutes a unconstitutional delegation of power.

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