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One Court of Justice Blog

May 2017
25
May 25, 2017

COA: If a fire truck has to try to drive safely—then so does a snowplow. There is no immunity from negligence claims while working on roadways

In Flanagin v. Kalkaska Co Road Comm'n, No. 330887, the Court of Appeals held that statutory provisions that allowed state vehicles to cross the centerline while engaged in work on a roadway would not provide immunity against allegations of negligence. While a snowplow may not be committing a moving violation when plowing by being over the centerline, they can still be negligent. The facts at issue indicated it was possible that the snowplow was between four and six feet over the centerline, and thus there was a genuine issue of material fact as to alleged negligent conduct justifying the trial court's denial of summary disposition.

May 2017
24
May 24, 2017

MSC grants MOAA to consider scope of landlord’s statutory duty to ensure that internal stairways are “fit for the use intended by the parties” and in “reasonable repair”

In Martin v. Milham Meadows, No.154360, the Michigan Supreme Court granted mini-oral argument as to whether reasonable minds could differ regarding whether an internal stairway, which was overly slippery because of the paint applied, was fit for its intended use and kept in reasonable repair. 

May 2017
24
May 24, 2017

MSC grants MOAA to consider when the 90-day limitations period under the Whistleblowers Protection Act is triggered

The Michigan Supreme Court granted mini-oral argument in Millar v. Construction Code Authority, No. 154437, to address whether a claim under the Whistleblowers Protection Act (“WPA”) accrues when a plaintiff is informed of his or her termination or when the decision is made to terminate the plaintiff.  
 

May 2017
22
May 22, 2017

COA: Businesses that peripherally participate in auto maintenance and repair are not excluded from coverage under the No Fault Act

The Michigan Insurance Code excludes no-fault insurance liability for property damage only where the damage occurs at a business whose primary purpose is to provide maintenance and repair services for motor vehicles, said the Michigan Court of Appeals in Hastings Mutual Insurance Company v. Grange Insurance Company, No. 333193. The exclusion does not apply to a business that has primary purpose doing something else and only peripherally participates in vehicle repair and maintenance. 
  
In this case, although a farm barn was regularly used to provide repairs and maintenance to the farm’s vehicles as well as the vehicles of the family members, it did not change the primary purpose of the business from farming to vehicle repair business.

May 2017
19
May 19, 2017

COA: Unrefined - but unambiguous - contract terms do not create a ripe judicial controversy

A plaintiff’s misunderstanding of unambiguous contractual terms, which may lack technical refinement, is not sufficient to create a controversy between contracting parties, said the court of appeals in Van Buren Charter Township v. Visteon Corporation, No. 331789.  In this case, the parties' contract clearly stated that there were two conditions that must be met before the defendant was obligated to perform. The court further stated that even though a contract may not be “particularly strong, or overly beneficial to [a] plaintiff,” courts do not have the authority to “modify unambiguous contracts or rebalance the contractual equities struck by contracting parties.”  As defendant had not yet breached its conditional performance obligation, the Court found that (1) it was proper for the trial court to decline to issue a declaratory judgment regarding the parties' rights under the contract; (2) plaintiff may not recover in contract law for possible future harm and hypothetical damages; and (3) plaintiff's claim for anticipatory repudiation of the contract cannot be sustained without sufficient evidence of defendant's unequivocal declaration of an intent not to perform.

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