MSC denies leave after MOAA on whether attorney fees award should have been submitted to the jury

The Michigan Supreme Court has denied leave to appeal in Power Play International v. Reddy, No. 154347, following mini-oral argument on the question of whether the trial court erred in awarding attorney fees following a postjudgment hearing rather than submitting the issue to the jury as part of the plaintiffs' breach of contract claim.   Read More

MSC clarifies scope of trial on remand in light of its previous decision

In a March 16, 2017 Order, the Michigan Supreme Court held that in its previous decision in Hecht v National Heritage Academies, Inc, 499 Mich 586 (2016), it had not vacated the jury’s finding that plaintiff would not suffer future emotional-distress damages.  Accordingly, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s November 2016 order and granted the motion of National Heritage Academies (“NHA”) to define the scope of trial. 
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MSC denies leave following MOAA on whether prosecutor satisfied notice requirements when seeking enhanced sentence

MCL 769.13 requires a prosecutor seeking an enhanced sentence for a habitual offender to provide the defendant with notice and file proof of service of that notice with the court. In People v. Swift, the Court of Appeals held in an unpublished opinion that providing the defendant with copies of the felony warrant, complaint, and information satisfied the notice requirement as long as those documents indicated an enhanced sentence. It further held that failure to file written proof of service of that notice with the court amounted to harmless error if the defendant did in fact have notice that the prosecution would seek an enhanced sentence.
In October, the MSC ordered mini-oral argument on these issues. Following argument and briefing, the MSC denied leave to appeal and will not issue an opinion. People v. Swift, No. 151439.
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Rape-Shield statute may not bar evidence of victim’s pregnancy, lack of prior sexual activity, and abortion in CSC case

In a case involving criminal sexual conduct, evidence of a victim’s pregnancy, lack of prior sexual activity, and abortion may be admissible, said the Michigan Court of Appeals in People v. Sharpe, Nos. 332879 and 333872. The Court held that such evidence is not necessarily barred by Michigan Rule of Evidence (MRE) 404(a) or MCL 750.520j, Michigan’s rape-shield statute.
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COA: In a bifurcated class action suit, a court may dismiss a class action suit by contemporaneously incorporating notice of the dismissal into a general notice of the action

Under certain factual scenarios, a court may dismiss a class action suit by providing notice of the dismissal contemporaneously with the general notice of the nature of the action and the various rights of the class members. Read More

COA: In order to have physical child custody, parent must live in country signed onto child abduction treaty

Michigan courts may not grant physical custody to a parent who lives in a country that is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, said the Michigan Court of Appeals in Elahham v. Al-Jabban, Nos. 326775 and 331438. Based on a plain-language reading of the Child Custody Act and an interpretation of the phrase “parenting time,” the Court affirmed the trial court’s refusal to award physical custody of the parties’ minor child to the plaintiff mother, Lamis Elahham (Elahham).
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COA holds that proposed parenting-time change alters the established custodial environment.

In John Allen Lieberman v Kimberly Ann Orr, No. 13-024442-DM, the Court of Appeals held the trial court erred in this child custody matter by granting plaintiffs motion for a change in physical custody. The Court held the trial court should have applied the legal standards set forth in Vodvarka to determine whether “proper cause” or a “change of circumstances” was sufficient to reopen the custody issue. Read More

COA holds that a statutory instruction to "consider" factors, does not require findings on the record as to each factor

When a custodial parent motions for a change in a minor child's domicile, the Court is required to "consider" the factors under MCL 722.31(4). "Consider[ation]" of the factors "does not require the court to specifically delineate its findings with regard to each factor. . . ." In re MKK, 286 Mich App 546, 556-557; 781 NW2d 132 (2009); Lee v Smith, 310 Mich App 507, 509; 871 NW2d 873 (2005). Read More

Back off the front-end loader: it is exempt from registration requirements under Michigan’s no-fault act

A front-end loader that has to travel about a quarter of a mile along a public road between work sites is exempt from the no-fault act’s registration and insurance requirements, said the Michigan Court of Appeals in Bergman v. Cotanche, No. 330438.  The vehicle was neither designed for nor used for the transport of people or property, and its travel over public roads was incidental to its main purpose—to plow snow.  The front-end loader thus fell under the statutory exemption for “special mobile equipment.” Read More

Defendant who pleads and agrees to sentence at low end of incorrectly scored guidelines range is entitled to sentence under properly scored range

If a defendant pleads guilty and agrees to a sentence “at the low end” of the sentencing guidelines range, the defendant is entitled to a sentence under the properly scored guidelines range, even if counsel agrees to an incorrect, higher guidelines range, said the Court of Appeals in People v. Smith, No. 330075
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