COA concludes that defendant owed a duty to protect plaintiff from ice-covered parking lot where crossing that lot was the only was for plaintiff to reach her car

In Attala v. Orcutt, No. 315630, plaintiff was seeking to recover for injuries suffered when she fell crossing the completely ice-covered parking lot of her apartment building to reach her vehicle.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's conclusion that the open and obvious doctrine did not preempt the landlords' duty to protect plaintiff from this hazard.  Specifically, the Court of Appeals noted that, under Michigan law, the landowner still retains a duty to protect against a hazard that is either effectively unavoidable, or that poses a substantial risk of serious injury or death.  Here, the Court concluded that the ice-covered lot was effectively unavoidable, because the plaintiff had no choice but to walk across the lot to reach her car, which was necessary to get to her class and turn in a required paper.  Judge Riordan disagreed, filing a dissent, arguing that plaintiff still had a choice about whether to venture onto the ice-covered surface, and that there was not a sufficient factual basis to support the majority's conclusion that plaintiff was compelled by the circumstances to walk onto the parking lot.   Read More

COA holds that companies can be liable for unpaid taxes of a company they purchase

In P.J. Hospitality, Inc. v. Department of Treasury, No. 314302, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that a purchaser of a business was liable for the target's unpaid Michigan taxes under MCL 205.27a(1) when it did not escrow funds in conjunction with the purchase. Furthermore, the tax liability is not limited to the fair market value of the purchased business when the purchaser offers no evidence of the fair market value. Finally, for proceeds from the sale to be exempt from collection for unpaid taxes, the proceeds must be applied to a superior security interest; the mere existence of a superior interest is not enough. Read More

COA rejects constitutional challenge to the transfer of the Court of Claims jurisdiction from the Ingham County Circuit Court to the Court of Appeals

The Court of Claims hears certain claims brought against the State.  In 2013, the Michigan Legislature transferred the jurisdiction of that Court from the Ingham County Circuit Court to the Court of Appeals.  In Okrie v State of Michigan, No. 913550, the Court of Appeals considered the original action petition challenging the constitutionality of that statute.  Although the Court of Appeals raised questions about the wisdom of this transfer of jurisdiction, it ultimately concluded that this facial challenge to the statute must fail because the Court of Claims is a legislatively created court, and assigning the Court of Claims cases to Court of Appeals judges does not require those judges to hold incompatible offices, and such judges are capable of being impartial decision makers even though other judges from the Court of Appeals would conduct the direct appellate review of Court of Claims decisions. Read More

COA Chief Judge Murphy throws hat in the ring for MSC nomination

Michigan Court of Appeals Chief Judge William Murphy has announced that he will seek the Democratic party's nomination to one of the three Michigan Supreme Court seats available in this November's election. Read More

COA upholds constitutional validity of statute allowing a PPO based on a single prior sexual assault

The Court of Appeals, in IME v. DBS, upheld the constitutionality of MCL 600.2950a(2)(a), which allows a court to issue a PPO based on a single prior sexual assault.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s issuance of the PPO.
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