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One Court of Justice Blog

Mar 2017
March 22, 2017

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. 

Mar 2017
March 20, 2017

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 In People v. Swift, the Court of Appeals held in an unpublished opinion that providing the defendant with copies of the felony warrant, complaint, and information satisfied the notice requirement as long as those documents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.

Mar 2017
March 16, 2017

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).

Mar 2017
March 14, 2017

COA holds that proposed parenting-time change alters the established custodial environment.

In John Allen Lieberman v Kimberly Ann Orr, No. 333816, 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.

Mar 2017
March 06, 2017

COA holds that waiver doctrine will not be expanded to include risks not contracted for

Under Michigan law, an insurer waives a defense it fails to raise in a denial letter, the Michigan Court of Appeals held in Bartlett Investments Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, No. 328922.  This is true even where the insured is not prejudiced by this waiver.  The waiver doctrine does not however apply to insurance disputes where application of the doctrine results in an expansion of the degree of risks undertaken by the insurer. 

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