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February 2014

Feb 2014
07
February 07, 2014

MSC holds that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act preempts a city ordinance punishing the use and cultivation of marijuana

In Ter Beek v. City of Wyoming, the Michigan Supreme Court held that a city ordinance penalizing the use, manufacture, and cultivation of marijuana directly conflicted with the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (“MMMA”), which provides that qualifying patients shall not be subject to punishment in any manner for certain medical use of marijuana. Consequently, the court reasoned, the MMMA preempted the city ordinance. The Court also held that the MMMA did not directly conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”), which makes manufacture, distribution, or possession of marijuana a federal criminal offence, and otherwise did not present an obstacle to federal enforcement of the CSA. Therefore, the CSA did not preempt the MMMA.

Feb 2014
07
February 07, 2014

MSC holds that property owners have no duty to warn licensees of open and obvious dangers

In another peremptory reversal, the Michigan Supreme Court applied the reasoning of the dissent in Veremis v. Gratiot Place, LLC to conclude that the open and obvious danger doctrine applies to negligent nuisance claims brought by a “licensee,” and ordered a directed verdict in favor of the defendant.  Click here for the order.

Feb 2014
07
February 07, 2014

MSC will decide who should bear the burden proof in unfunded mandate cases

The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to review the Court of Appeals’ decision in Adair v. Michigan Department of Education regarding unfunded state mandates.  The Supreme Court has asked the parties to brief:  

(1) which party has the burden of proving underfunding of a legislative mandate in a challenge under Const 1963, art 9, § 29,
(2) what elements of proof are necessary to sustain such a claim, and
(3) whether acceptance of a general appropriation from the Legislature which is specifically conditioned on compliance with reporting requirements pursuant to MCL 388.1622b(1)(c) waives any challenge to the funding level for those requirements under Const 1963, art 9, § 29.

Interested parties are invited to file amicus briefs. Click here for the order.

Feb 2014
07
February 07, 2014

MSC reaffirms that extrinsic evidence cannot be used to interpret an unambiguous contract

Applying the longstanding rule against using extrinsic evidence to interpret an unambiguous contract, the Michigan Supreme Court peremptorily reversed the Court of Appeals in Costella v. Taylor Police & Fire Retirement System, and adopted the reasoning of the dissent that severance should not be paid as retirement benefits to the City of Taylor’s former fire chief because it was not expressly included in the employment services agreement.  Click here for the order.

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