COA: Fetus is not a “child” for purposes of the first-degree child abuse statute

A mother’s prenatal use of illegal drugs does not constitute child abuse under Michigan’s first-degree child abuse statute. In People v. Jones, No. 332018, the Court of Appeals held that a fetus is not a “child” for purposes of the statute. Consequently, a mother who delivered a baby that tested positive for methamphetamine was not guilty of first-degree child abuse. 
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COA: Court-appointed appellate counsel entitled to reasonable compensation for work done even when COA denies application for lack of merit

A trial court cannot refuse to award fees to court-appointed attorneys even when an appeal is denied for lack of merit. In People v. Boudrie, No. 327707, the Court of Appeals held that because the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses require the appointment of counsel for defendants convicted on their pleas who seek review, reasonable compensation must be paid to counsel even when the appellate court denies leave to appeal for lack of merit.
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COA holds that remedial promises for defective goods are not warranties and nave separate statutes of limitation

Promises to “repair or replace” identify specific remedies available to purchasers should a product defect arise and are considered contractual promises under Article 2, and are distinct from warranties, held the Court of Appeals in Grosse Pointe Law Firm, PC v Jaguar Land Rover North America, No 326312. As such, the statute of limitations for claims involving these separate contractual promises accrues at the time of breach of the remedial promise, not at the product’s delivery.
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COA clarifies that repossessed property is excluded for “bad debt” tax credit

In Ally Financial Inc v State Treasurer, No. 327815, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary disposition holding that Ally is not entitled to a “bad debt” tax credit under MCL 205.4I because the election forms signed by the lenders apply only to “accounts currently existing or created in the future” and are not applicable to the already written off loans. The Court of Appeals also affirmed that repossessed property is excluded as ‘bad debt’ tax and clarified the interpretation of bad debt to mean what the plain language of the contract states. Further, the Court found that the Department could require plaintiffs to submit specific RD-108 forms as proof those taxes had, in fact, been paid. Read More

COA holds that insured party does not need legal interest in insured property to be indemnified

In A.B. Petro Mart, Inc. v. Prime One Insurance, No. 327481, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that under the insurable-interest doctrine, an insured party is not required to have a legal interest in or financial responsibility for any damages to the insured property in order to be indemnified under an aleatory indemnity contract.
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COA states that where insurance policy contains an “all risk” provision, a loss is not covered if it comes within any specific policy exclusion

In Michigan Battery Equipment, Inc. v. Emcasco Insurance Company, No. 326945, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that an insured’s policy did not cover damage caused by wet rot because it was a risk specifically excluded under the policy. Due to prolonged water infiltration through deteriorated rubber grommets in the roof, the roof trusses of Michigan Battery Equipment’s warehouse rotted. Snow and ice accumulation caused the rotted trusses to split, crack, and fall down a few feet. Emcasco denied Michigan Battery’s insurance claim. 
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COA: Statutory language requiring rescission “in writing” of personal residence exemption not constrained to Treasury Form 2062

A homeowner’s request for rescission of the Personal Residence Exemption “in writing” is not constrained to the sole use of Michigan Department of Treasury Form 2602, say the Court of Appeals in Denton v Department of Treasury, No. 327406. Rather, the broad language of “in writing” under MCL 211.7cc(8) encapsulates more than Form 2602. Read More

COA: Probate inventory fee must be paid if estate has sufficient assets, even if it means selling the personal representative’s home

The probate inventory fee required under Michigan law is paid from the assets of the estate, not from the personal representative’s own funds, says the Michigan Court of Appeals in consolidated appeals in In re Estate of DeCoste, Nos. 327990 and 327993. The personal representative’s inability to pay is therefore irrelevant to the waiver or suspension of this fee. If the estate’s only property is a single real estate asset, then the personal representative must liquidate it to pay the fee, even if the personal representative is living in that home. Read More

COA finds that prior litigation bars additional unfunded mandate challenge

The doctrine of res judicata applies in actions to enforce the Michigan Constitution’s Headlee tax limitation amendment, said the Michigan Court of Appeals in Adair v. Michigan, No. 311779. Read More

COA: Calculate renaissance zone tax credit by following Department of Treasury’s interpretation of renaissance zone business activity factor

In Andersons Albion Ethanol, LLC v. Department of Treasury, No. 327855, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the Tax Tribunal erred when it failed to apply the Department’s interpretation of a portion of the Michigan Business Tax Act regarding the calculation of a renaissance zone tax credit.   Read More
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