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A Better Partnership
February 01, 2010

MSC grants leave to appeal to reconsider discovery rule

On Friday, January 29, 2010, the Michigan Supreme Court signaled its intent to consider revising the discovery rule by granting leave to appeal in Colaianni v. Stuart Frankel Development Corporation. In Colaianni, the plaintiff asserted tort claims against the defendants arising from purported exposure to toxic mold at her workplace. The defendants moved for summary disposition based on the statute of limitations which the trial court denied based on the common-law discovery rule. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's decision under Trentadue v. Buckler Automatic Lawn Sprinkler Co., 479 Mich. 378, 738 N.W.2d 664 (2007), which eliminated the common-law discovery rule in Michigan. The Court of Appeals panel majority urged the Michigan Supreme Court to reconsider its decision in Trentadue because, in the view of the Court of Appeals' majority, the rule is unfairly harsh. The Michigan Supreme Court appears to be willing to do just that, granting leave to appeal and ordering the parties to address whether Trentadue was correctly decided.

Justices Young and Corrigan authored a dissent complaining that the majority of Michigan Supreme Court justices are breaking from their previous views of stare decisis and taking cases to reverse recent precedent.

The Court invited the Negligence Section of the Michigan State Bar and the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel to submit amicus briefs. The Michigan Association for Justice submitted an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff's application for leave to appeal.

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