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One Court of Justice Blog

Jun 2016
15
June 15, 2016

COA holds that members of the Parole and Commutation Board do not have vested contractual rights to hold their positions

In Aguirre v. Dep't of Corrections, No. 327022, the Court of Appeals held that appointments to public office do not create a contractual right to hold that office, and when an office is abolished, or an officer lawfully removed, he or she is not entitled to payment for future services which would have been rendered but for the elimination of the office.

Jun 2016
15
June 15, 2016

COA holds that the insurers are not required to pay no-fault benefits to innocent third parties if the insured obtained automobile insurance coverage through fraud

In Bazzi v Genex, No. 320518 the Court of Appeals held that the “innocent third-party rule” abolished by the Michigan Supreme Court in Titan v Hyten, 491 Mich 547; 817 NW2d 562 (2012) for contractual insurance policies was also abolished with respect to statutory no-fault insurance. For the parties in Bazzi, this means that if an insured obtains coverage through fraud, the insurer is not obligated to pay no-fault benefits to an innocent third-party.

Jun 2016
15
June 15, 2016

COA: No premises liability unless defendant has possession and control of the property

The Michigan Court of Appeals held that an individual may not recover from a defendant who does not owe a legal duty in Morelli v Madison Heights, Docket No. 326621.  The Court affirmed the decision in Morrow v Boldt, 203 Mich App 324, 328; 512 NW2d 83 (1994), that a plaintiff may only receive damages from a defendant for injuries from conditions of land if that defendant has legal possession and control of the premises.

Jun 2016
14
June 14, 2016

MSC grants oral argument to consider the applicability of a Michigan Civil Rights Act case to a Whistleblower Protection Act claim

In Smith v. City of Flint, No. 152844 the Michigan Supreme Court granted mini-oral argument to be accompanied by supplemental briefs on the application for leave to appeal to consider three issues. First, whether the Court of Appeals (COA) erred in applying Peña v Ingham Co. Rd Comm., 255 Mich App 299 (2003), a Michigan Civil Rights Act case, to the plaintiff’s claim under the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act (WPA), MCL 15.361. Secondly, whether the plaintiff alleged sufficient facts to establish that he suffered an adverse employment action under the WPA.  Finally. if the plaintiff alleged sufficient facts to establish that he engaged in a protected activity under the WPA. The COA, which we blogged about here, held that the adverse action against the employee must be more than a mere inconvenience, and Smith’s relocation was within the discretion of the employer and was part of Smith’s job duties. The COA also held that Smith was not engaged in a protected activity because his mere disagreement with the use of funds did not mean that the city engaged in wrongful conduct.    

Jun 2016
13
June 13, 2016

Don't step over that line: MSC to consider when knock-and-talk amounts to unconstitutional search

In the consolidated cases, People v. Frederick (No. 153115) and People v. Van Doorne (No. 153117), the Michigan Supreme Court will consider when a “knock-and-talk” instigated by police officers amounts to a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.  Here, based on information that the defendants had received marijuana butter, officers appeared at defendants’ homes at 4 and 5 AM.  After being invited inside and conducting a search of their homes, officers recovered the marijuana butter and charged the two men with various controlled substances offenses.  The Supreme Court has granted mini-oral argument on the application for leave to appeal to consider whether officers’ actions during this “knock-and-talk” exceeded the general public’s implied-license to approach a home, and therefore was unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment.   The Court also asked the parties to brief whether the officers’ conduct during this knock-and-talk indicates that they were not intending to speak with the occupant but, rather, that their purpose was to conduct a warrantless search.  The Court of Appeals previously concluded in this case that police do not violate the Fourth Amendment by approaching a home and seeking to speak with its occupant, even if the motive for that contact is to acquire information or evidence as a result of this conversation. 

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