COA upholds prior ruling that a custom-furnishing carpenter is liable for use tax as construction contractor because its products met the fixtures test

A company in the business of producing and installing custom office furnishing and interior finishes is a contractor liable for use tax, and not a retailer, because its products meet the “3-part fixture test” under Tuinier v Bedfort Charter Twp, 235 Mich App 663, 668; 599 NW2d 116 (1999). Further, it is not an industrial processor entitled to an exemption under the Use Tax Act (UTA). Ultimately such a company affixes its product to real estate for its customers, no matter how unobtrusive the hardware used to attach its products is or how easily those products may be removed. Read More

COA rules that water leaking from defective fridge was proximate cause in slip and fall case

In Stenzel v Best Buy Company Inc., and Samsung Electronics American, Inc., No. 328804, a slip-and-fall case, the Court of Appeals held the trial court erred in granting summary disposition on the basis that there was no cause in fact or proximate cause. 
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COA: when it comes to driving a golf cart, the applicable standard of care is ordinary negligence, not reckless misconduct

The safe operation of a motorized cart on a golf course is governed by the ordinary standard of care in simple negligence claims, and not the “reckless misconduct” standard applicable to recreational activities, said the Michigan Court of Appeals in Bertin v. Mann, No. 328885. The use of a golf cart is not an inherent component of the game of golf, as its elimination would not change the fundamental nature of the sport. Read More

COA: Trial court overstepped its authority in blocking state access to Legionella-related records from Flint area hospital

“An order restricting the flow of information to a state agency, or curtailing a state agency’s ability to fulfill its statutory mandate, cannot rest on catchy phrases or naked assertions devoid of factual support,” said the Michigan Court of Appeals in Department of Health & Human Services v. Genesee Circuit Judge, No. 334491.  In this action for superintending control, the Court of Appeals vacated three protective orders issued by Genesee Circuit Judge Geoffrey Neithercut, which prevented the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS” or “the Department”) from accessing McLaren-Flint Hospital’s medical records. Read More

COA holds that school districts are free to ban guns in schools

Local school district policies prohibiting possession of firearms on school grounds and at school-sponsored activities are not preempted by state firearm regulations, said the Michigan Court of Appeals in parallel rulings in Michigan Gun Owners, Inc. v. Ann Arbor Public Schools (No. 329632) and Michigan Open Carry, Inc. v Clio Area School District (No. 329418). In so ruling, it upheld three Ann Arbor Public Schools (“AAPS”) policies enacted in 2015, as well as a June 1996 policy promulgated by Clio Area School District (“CASD”).
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COA holds that a circuit court must always hold an adjudicative proceeding prior to a dispositional proceeding with respect to child protective proceedings

The two phases of a child protective proceeding, adjudicative and dispositional, must be distinct and must occur in that order.  In In re J. Thompson, Minor, No. 333294, the Court of Appeals highlighted the procedural importance of exercising jurisdiction over a child prior to a dispositional proceeding. 
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COA determines that the actual water's edge is the boundary of a critical dune area

In Port Sheldon Beach Association v. Department of Environmental Equality, No. 328483, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the lakeward boundary of a critical dune area (“CDA”) located in Port Sheldon Township extends to the water’s edge, thereby subjecting the boundary to the Sand Dune Protection and Management Act (“SDPMA”). Read More

MSC: Onus is on plaintiff not defendant, to prove notice of hazard in slip and fall case

In Lowrey v. LMPS & LMPJ Inc, No. 153025, the Michigan Supreme Court, without oral argument, held the Court of Appeals erred when it both improperly shifted the burden to defendant to prove its lack of notice of a hazardous condition and imposed a new element necessary to prove such lack of notice thereby improperly imposing a new requirement on premises owners seeking summary disposition. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals regarding defendant’s notice, reinstated the trial court’s order granting summary disposition in favor of defendant on that issue, and vacated the remainder of the Court of Appeals’ opinion. Read More

MSC grants MOAA on whether the Court of Claims has subject matter jurisdiction over decisions by the Michigan Film Office

In the consolidated case of Teddy 23, LLC v Michigan Film Office, No. 153420, the Michigan Supreme Court granted mini-oral argument to address whether the Revenue Act confers subject matter jurisdiction on the Court of Claims for decisions issued by the Michigan Film Office.  After the Michigan Film Office denied Teddy 23’s request for a postproduction certificate of completion because the Department of Treasury concluded that Teddy 23 had misstated its expenditures, Teddy 23 filed an action in the Court of Claims against the Michigan Film Office and the Department of Treasury.  The Court of Claims dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the Revenue Act confers subject matter jurisdiction on the Court of Claims for decisions issued by the Department of Treasury, but not the Michigan Film Office.  Read More

COA holds that under the Governmental Immunity Act, an individual need not list all witnesses in intent to sue

The highway exception to the Governmental Immunity Act does not require an injured party to list in her notice of intent all witnesses to her injuries, according to the Michigan Court of Appeals in Milot v. Department of Transportation, No. 329728.  Rather, the injured party need only list the witnesses who observed the occurrence.
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