COA holds that a court may not permit a parent to change a child’s domicile exclusively based on sole legal custody where the parents have joint physical custody

The Court of Appeals concluded in Sulaica v. Rometty, No. 321275, that the lower court erred when it granted Rometty’s motion to move her child out of state because Rometty has sole legal custody of her child.  The trial court erred when it did not consider whether the move was a change in the child’s custodial environment under MCL 722.27 because the parents share joint physical custody.  The Court of Appeals remanded for the trial court to determine whether the move constituted a change in the child’s custodial environment and, if so, whether the move was in the child’s best interests. Read More

COA determines that a mental health professional has a duty to prevent false accusations of childhood sexual abuse by parents

In Roberts v. Salmi, No. 316068, the Michigan Court of Appeals determined that a mental health professional owes a duty to third party non-patients to ensure that its professional techniques do not lead to false sexual accusations.  According to the Court of Appeals, Michigan common law recognizes a duty of care to third parties who might foreseeably be harmed by the use of techniques that lead a patient to have false memories of sexual abuse. Read More

COA: Invasion of privacy requires an intentional public disclosure of private facts

In Jane Doe v. Henry Ford Health System, Nos. 317973, 317975, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that in an invasion of privacy action a plaintiff must show that the defendant intended to publicly disclose private facts.  Because, here, plaintiff did not allege that Henry Ford had intended its transcription service provider to change Henry Ford's server configurations to allow private patient information to be searchable on the web, plaintiff failed to state a claim for private invasion. Read More

COA upholds validity of antenuptial agreements, even under allegations of abuse

In Allard v. Allard, No. 308194, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the validity of an antenuptial agreement against claims of duress, unconscionability, and change of circumstances.  The court found that the plain terms of the antenuptial contract controlled, but remanded for a determination of whether income derived from Plaintiff’s LLCs constituted marital income. Read More

MSC holds that Wayne County ordinance violates the Public Employment Retirement System Investment Act

In Wayne County Employees Retirement System v. Wayne Charter County, No. 147296, the Michigan Supreme Court held that a $32 million dollar transfer from the county retirement system’s Inflation Equity Fund to its defined contribution plans violated the exclusive benefit rule and the prohibited transaction rule under the Public Employee Retirement Systems Investment Act (PERSIA), MCL 38.1132 et seq. The exclusive benefit rule requires that the retirement system be for the exclusive benefit of the plan’s participants and their beneficiaries, MCL 38.1133(6), while the prohibited transaction rule prohibits transfers for the benefit of the political subdivision sponsoring the system for less than adequate consideration, MCL 38.1133(6)(c). Read More

COA gives the cold shoulder to any special aspects of plaintiff’s icy slip-and-fall

In Bullard v. Oakwood Annapolis Hospital, No. 317334, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that Mr. Bullard could not show the necessary “special aspects” of an open and obvious hazard in order for Oakwood to be liable for his slip-and-fall injuries. The Court remanded the case with an order to grant Oakwood’s motion for summary disposition. Read More

COA: Verbal notice of special hearing before local tax board is constitutionally insufficient

In Spranger v. City of Warren, No. 316180, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that Warren’s local tax board owed Ms. Spranger a mailed notice of her special hearing date.  The Court of Appeals remanded Ms. Spranger’s case to the Tax Tribunal for a de novo proceeding. Read More

COA holds that a party may not avoid the open and obvious doctrine by alleging ordinary negligence

The Michigan Court of Appeals in Jahnke v. Allen, No. 317625 held that the open and obvious doctrine remains in force for a premises liability case, and a party may not claim ordinary negligence to avoid it. Read More

MSC holds that private third party records may be considered public records subject to FOIA disclosure requirements

In Amberg v. City of Dearborn, No. 149242, the Michigan Supreme Court held that private third party records may be public records subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) so long as the government collects or retains the record in the performance of an official function. Read More

Proposed MSC Rule Change #3: Amici may respond as of right to rehearing motions

For those of us who regularly represent industry associations, trade organizations, and other interest groups in the Michigan Supreme Court, the proposed rule to allow amici to answer rehearing motions is quite welcomed.  Under the current rule, MCR 7.313(E), only the parties can answer a motion for rehearing by right.  Amici would have to file a motion with their answer, requesting permission to file, at the risk (however minimal) of having the motion denied and wasting their time and money.  Under proposed MCR 7.311(F), "any party or amicus curiae that participated in the case may answer a motion for rehearing."  At the very least, those amici who do undertake the expense of responding will have the comfort of knowing their submission will be accepted.  Read More
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