COA holds that a question of fact prevents summary disposition on a PIP claim based on an insurer's fraud exclusion

In Tyann Shelton v Auto-Owners Insurance Company, No 328473, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision in holding an exclusionary provision that defendant's no-fault policy does not bar plaintiff's personal injury protection (PIP) claim. The defendant sought summary disposition based upon a fraud exclusion clause in its policy, asserting that plaintiff made fraudulent statements concerning her need for replacement services and so was excluded by the policy from all PIP benefits. The trial court granted summary disposition as to replacement services and denied the motion as to payment for medical services and from that ruling, defendant appeals by leave granted. Read More

COA upholds 20-day filing period for appealing a Tobacco Products Tax Act decision

The plain meaning of MCL 205.429, requiring an appeal to be made within 20 days of a Tobacco Products Tax Act (TPTA) decision was unambiguous, and the Michigan Administrative Code, specifically MCL 205.20 does not supersede the TPTA language. Read More

MSC grants leave to appeal as to whether percentage allocation of premium contributions is a mandatory subject of bargaining

In Shelby Township v Command Officers Association of Michigan, No 323491, the Michigan Supreme Court granted leave to appeal to address bargaining requirements related to public employees’ contributions to medical benefit plans pursuant to the Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act and the Public Employment Relations Act. The Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act, MCL 15.561 et seq., limits how much public employers may pay toward healthcare costs for employee medical benefit plans.   Read More

MSC grants second MOAA on whether an order denying a motion to change schools is a postjudgment order affecting the custody of a minor

In Ozimek v Rodgers, No. 154776, the Michigan Supreme Court granted mini-oral argument as to whether an order denying the plaintiff mother’s motion to change the school was “a postjudgment order affecting the custody of a minor” and therefore a “final order” under MCR 7.202(6)(a)(iii).  Read More

Police officer’s reassignment to dangerous part of Flint was sufficient to plead a retaliatory action under the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, says the MSC

In Smith v. City of Flint, No. 152844, the Michigan Supreme Court held that a police officer’s reassignment to an undesirable location in Flint during undesirable hours was sufficient to establish a question of fact as to whether the police officer suffered an adverse employment action.  In lieu of granting leave to appeal, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision, which held that, in concluding whether a retaliatory action under the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act (“WPA”) was committed, an adverse employment action must be shown to be more than a mere inconvenience.  The Michigan Supreme Court instead agreed with the dissenting opinion, finding that a police officer has properly pleaded an adverse employment action where he is the only patrol officer assigned exclusively to a particularly dangerous section of the department’s jurisdiction. Read More

MSC grants MOAA on whether a court’s postjudgment order denying request to change child’s school enrollment is an order affecting the custody of a minor

In Marik v. Marik, No. 154549, the Michigan Supreme Court has granted mini-oral argument to address whether a court’s postjudgment order denying a party’s request to change a minor child’s school enrollment is a “postjudgment order affecting the custody of a minor” and therefore a “final order” under MCR 7.202(6)(a)(iii).  The defendant father in the underlying domestic relations action filed a postjudgment order, seeking to modify parenting time and the parties’ minor child’s school enrollment.  After the circuit court denied the defendant’s motion, the father appealed the court’s decision.  On July 12, 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed the claim for lack of jurisdiction, reasoning that the circuit court’s postjudgment order did not affect the custody of the parties’ minor child within the meaning of MCR 7.202(6)(a)(iii).  Read More

MSC to hear MOAA on whether “intent to threaten” matters when threat made witness “unavailable”

It’s the thought that counts—or, for the Michigan Supreme Court, the intent. The court has ordered an MOAA to hear arguments on whether intent matters in an evidence dispute over an unavailable witness. In People v. Lopez, No. 327208, the Court of Appeals found that the prosecutor threatened the defendant’s key witness. The prosecutor in that case told the witness that giving testimony during trial that differed from previous sworn testimony would result in a charge of perjury and life imprisonment. So, a week before trial, the witness invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege, saying he was no longer willing to testify. The prosecutor then filed a motion to declare Hoskins “unavailable” as a witness and to admit his prior testimony pursuant to MRE 804(b)(1).
 
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When throwing a dinner party at your home, keep all your lights on to avoid premises liability suits.

A homeowner's open and obvious doctrine defense does not require guests to improve visibility of an impending hazard. Read More

COA: Prenups cannot deprive court’s ability to divide property in a divorce

Parties cannot waive, in an antenuptial agreement, the statutory authority of a court to invade a party’s separate estate when ordering a property division in a divorce, said the Michigan Court of Appeals on remand in Allard v. Allard, No. 308194. Provisions of Michigan’s divorce statute, according to the court, clearly demonstrate that the Legislature intends circuit courts to have discretion to allocate separate assets if doing so is necessary to achieve equity. Any agreement that attempts to bind that equitable authority of the court is necessarily void as against both statute and public policy. Read More

COA rules trial court must make initial child custody finding before referring to friend of the court for investigation

In Bowling v. McCarrick, No. 331583, the Court of Appeals held the trial court erred when it referred a child-custody matter to the Friend of the Court for conciliation before it had made a determination regarding whether the party requesting a change in custody had met his burden of proving either proper cause or change of circumstances.  The trial court improperly relied upon the Friend of the Court’s report in determining whether there was proper cause.  Because Michigan statute requires the court to make this determination before ordering the Friend of the Court to investigate, the Court of Appeals vacated the trial court order and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. 
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