COA finds workers’ compensation hearings must be held in same locality as injury under plain language of statute

In Younkin v. Zimmer, the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s writ of mandamus ordering the Michigan Administrative Hearing System and Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to hold workers’ compensation hearings in the locality in which the injury occurred.  The court determined that the plain language of MCL 418.851 limited the geographic area in which the agencies could hold hearings.
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Individual Plaintiff requesting child support did not need to personally attend hearing for entry of a default judgment

In Macomb County v. Anderson, the Court of Appeals held that the mother of a minor child, who was seeking child support for that child, did not need to personally appear at a hearing for the entry of a default judgment for support against the alleged father.  In doing so, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of a motion for default judgment and subsequent denial of a motion for reconsideration.  The Court of Appeals determined that there was nothing in the statute that required the custodial parent's presence at such a hearing and that the statute allowed the prosecuting attorney to act the attorney for the petitioner in support actions.   The Court reasoned that requiring the presence of the custodial parent would undermine the ability of the state to represent the public interest and seek support, even where the custodial parent was uncooperative.  Further, because the father had not responded to a verified complaint there were no issues, such as custody, in dispute where the custodial parent's presence would be required to resolve.        Read More

COA reverses school truancy adjudication finding that there was insufficient evidence that absences from school due to fear of bullying and related illnesses were "willful"

In the case of People v. Napieraj, the trial court adopted a Family Division referee's decision that the a student was guilty of truancy where that student had been absent from school without a doctor's note, even though the student's mother had kept him home because of the student's fear of bullying and related physical symptoms, such as vomiting.  The Court of Appeals reversed this decision and remanded the case for dismissal.  The Court noted that, under the applicable truancy statute, the absences needed to be "willful" and that here, as the student was subject to bullying and, sometimes would be physically ill in the mornings because of the fear of bullying, the mother exercised reasonable parental discretion in keeping the child home and that those absences were not "willful."  Additionally, the Court of Appeals specifically rejected the referee's position that any absence without a doctor's note, is truancy.   Read More

COA holds that life tenants can claim statutory exemption from local school operating tax

Believe it or not, there is still such a thing as a life tenancy, and it can qualify as a principle residence under the General Property Tax Act.  In Flowers v Township of Bedford, the Court of Appeals held that a life tenant is an “owner” of property under MCL 211.7dd(a) and, therefore, qualifies for the principle residence exemption under MCL 211.7cc. Read More

COA holds that medical-malpractice plaintiffs may amend prematurely filed complaints

The Court of Appeals convened a conflict panel in Furr v McLoed to resolve a conflict between its previous opinion in that case and its opinion in Tyra v Organ Procurement Agency of Michigan, 302 Mich App 208; 840 NW2d 730 (2013). The two opinions had reached opposite conclusions regarding whether a plaintiff can amend his complaint to render it complaint with the mandatory notice waiting period for medical malpractice action. The conflict panel held that a plaintiff can amend. Read More
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