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A Better Partnership
June 30, 2017

COA endorses streamlined process for amending pleadings

In Stenzel v. Best Buy Company Inc. 328804 a special conflict resolution panel of the Court of Appeals has decided to deviate from Williams v Arbor Home, Inc, 254 Mich App 439; 656 NW2d 873 (2002) and rule that the Michigan Supreme Court intended to streamline the process for amending a pleading to include a new party by allowing a party to file an amended pleading directly under MCR 2.112(K)(4), rather than filing a motion for leave to amend which the court would be required to grant without exception under MCL 600.2957(2). The Court of Appeals decided the two approaches were in direct conflict with one another, but that the constitutional authority granted to the Michigan Supreme Court under Article 6 § 5 to “establish, modify, amend and simplify the practice and procedure in all courts of this state” allowed the court rule to override and control.
While substantively the same result, the Court Rule requires less time and effort that the statutory approach which could require additional steps such as; the filing and service of the motion for leave to amend the pleading; the filing and service of a response to the motion; the scheduling of a hearing, the service of a notice of hearing; an appearance by counsel at the hearing; and oral arguments before the court finally being required to allow the amended pleadings.
A concurring opinion joined by three judges did not see a conflict between the court rule and statutory approach and would have allowed both to remain.

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