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One Court of Justice Blog

Mar 2016
March 05, 2016

COA holds that arbitrators, not Michigan courts, will decide whether to consolidate arbitrations, unless the parties agreed otherwise

Whether to allow consolidation of arbitrations is not a question Michigan courts must decide, according to a recent opinion in Lauren Bienenstock & Assocs. v. Lowry, No. 323986.  Unless the parties have agreed that a court will decide the issue, arbitrators have sole authority to decide whether to administratively consolidate multiple arbitrations.  The same is not true for arbitration as a class.  According to the Court of Appeals, whether to allow class arbitration is still considered a “gateway” issue to be decided by the courts.

Mar 2016
March 02, 2016

Proceeds from the sale of a home do not qualify for "home of modest value" hardship waiver for Medicaid reimbursement by a decedent's estate

In Estate of Ketchum v. Dep't of Health and Human Services, No. 324741, the Court of Appeals determined that the cash proceeds from the sale of a home did not qualify for the "home of modest value" exception to estate reimbursement of Medicaid costs.  The Court found that the State Recovery plan was within the bounds set by the legislature, and that Plan while providing for a hardship waiver for an estate consisting of a home of modest value, did not allow for such a waiver where the estate held cash from the sale of a modest home.

Feb 2016
February 28, 2016

Multi-state businesses may choose the Multistate Tax Compact’s more favorable apportionment formula for pre-2008 tax years, says COA

Until 2008, multi-state businesses could elect between the apportionment methods contained in the Multi State Compact and the Single Business Tax Act (“SBTA”) for purposes of apportioning their tax base, said the Court of Appeals in the consolidated appeal of AK Steel Holding Corporation, et al. v. Department of Treasury, Nos. 327175, 327251, 327313-31, 327333-34.  Treasury imposed on these 23 businesses the less favorable SBTA apportionment formula on the basis that the SBTA impliedly repealed the apportionment election provision of the Multistate Tax Compact (the “Compact”).  The Court of Appeals rejected that argument and held that the Compact’s election provision remained in effect for tax years before the Michigan Business Tax (“MBT”) took effect in January 1, 2008.

Feb 2016
February 26, 2016

COA is bound by prior holding to conclude that res judicata does not bar uninsured motorist claim, but openly expresses opposition to the prior decision

In Garrett v Washington, No. 323705, the Court of Appeals begrudgingly held that res judicata does not apply to a claim for uninsured motorist benefits that was not asserted with a previous claim for personal protection insurance (“PIP”) benefits.  The Court noted that it was bound to reach this holding based on its previous decision in Adam v Bell, ___ Mich App ___; ___ NW2d ___ (2015); however, the Court voiced its disagreement with this decision and declared a conflict with Adam under MCR 7.215(J)(2).

Feb 2016
February 22, 2016

MSC peremptorily vacates lower courts’ orders and remands termination of parental rights case to circuit court

The Michigan Supreme Court will not hear argument in In re Jones, No. 152595.  The Michigan Supreme Court vacated its December 23, 2015 order granting leave to appeal, the Court of Appeals’ October 27, 2015 judgment, and the circuit court’s February 16, 2015 order terminating the respondent’s parental rights.  The Court remanded the case to the circuit court for a new adjudication regarding parental rights.

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