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One Court of Justice Blog

Sep 2017
29
Jul 2017
27
July 27, 2017

MSC invalidates post hoc causation reasoning

Through an order in Lowery v. Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership, No 151600, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the determination of the Court of Appeals and ordered summary disposition be entered in favor of the defendant, who was alleged to be liable for plaintiff's bodily injury caused by an oil spill.  The Court concluded that the plaintiff's expert's causation opinion was, essentially, that the plaintiff did not have problems before the spill, and that his health issues developed after the spill.  The Court found that this was fallacious post hoc reasoning and did not support a dispute of material fact on the required element of causation. Justice Markman, joined by Justices Zahra and Wilder, wrote an extensive concurring opinion detailing his view of the expert causation testimony necessary to sustain a toxic tort claim.   

Jun 2017
12
June 12, 2017

MOAA: Was evidence of defendant’s prior firearms convictions permissible because it bore on wife’s credibility and was not a collateral issue?

The Michigan Supreme Court granted a mini-oral argument to hear whether a defendant’s rights were violated through the use of character evidence and evidence of prior crimes. In People v. Wilder, No. 154814, the court will hear: 1) whether defendant’s prior firearms-related convictions were offered solely as character evidence, 2) whether defendant’s prior convictions were relevant to his guilt or innocence and 3) whether any part of the trial deprived defendant of a just outcome. 
 

Jun 2017
02
June 02, 2017

COA: Hearsay laboratory reports welcome at preliminary examination

In People v. Parker, No. 335541, the Court of Appeals held that a district court can admit a hearsay laboratory report during a preliminary examination under the statutory hearsay exception found in MCL 766.11b(1). Prior to this decision, this statute appeared to be in conflict with MCR 6.110(C) and MRE 802, which precludes introduction of a laboratory report as hearsay without exception. Under MCR 6.110(C), the district court must conduct a preliminary examination “in accordance with the Michigan Rules of Evidence” and MRE 802 prohibits a district court from admitting hearsay evidence absent an exception in the rules of evidence. However, MCL 766.11b(1) indicates that “[t]he rules of evidence apply at the preliminary examination except” that the hearsay rule does not preclude certain laboratory reports from being admitted. Therefore, a court rule conflicted with a statute.  However, because MCL 766.11b(1) serves as a substantive rule of evidence, not a procedural one, the statutory exception takes precedence over MCR 6.110(C).

 

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