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A Better Partnership

March 2014

Mar 2014
24
March 24, 2014

MSC reconsiders prior denial and grants leave in case regarding the scope of governmental immunity for emotional injury claims

In November 2013, the Michigan Supreme Court denied an application for leave to appeal in Hunter v. Sisco, where the Court of Appeals had held that governmental immunity is not waived for claims of emotional injury.  On March 21, 2014, however, the Michigan Supreme Court granted a motion for reconsideration allowing leave to appeal whether pain and suffering and/or emotional distress qualify as bodily injury under the motor vehicle exception to governmental immunity.  The Court also directed that the argument be heard in the same session as the case of Hannay v. Dep't of Transportation where the Supreme Court will consider whether wage loss claims fall within the scope of that exception. 

Mar 2014
21
March 21, 2014

COA denies local park commission and park trustees governmental immunity

In Nash v. Duncan Park Commission, the Court of Appeals held that park trustees and a park commission were not entitled to governmental immunity under the Governmental Tort Liability Act (“GTLA”). The park’s trust, not the city, owned the park. Accordingly, neither the trustees nor the commission was a “governmental agency” or “political subdivision” entitled to immunity under the GTLA.

Mar 2014
21
March 21, 2014

Having paid 3 lawyers "is sanction enough"

As reported by this Blog in February, the Michigan Supreme Court in NACG Leasing v Department of Treasury held that an airplane owner's lease of the airplane constitutes a "use" for purposes of Michigan's Use Tax even if the owner never takes possession of the plane.  Plaintiff responded with a petition for rehearing.  The Court's response provides a cautionary tale for those who seek appellate relief based on characterizations of the record . . .

Mar 2014
17
March 17, 2014

COA rules temporary staffer who takes part-time job with client is disqualified from unemployment benefits because she voluntarily left employment without good cause attributable to employer

In Logan v. Manpower of Lansing, Inc. the Court of Appeals held that an employee who abandoned her position with a staffing company (Manpower) to take part-time employment directly with the staff company’s client, and thereafter was laid-off by the client, was not entitled to unemployment benefits, from Manpower, under the Michigan Employment Security Act, MCL 421.1 et seq.  The Court of Appeals reasoned that the employee was disqualified from receiving benefits because she left her employment with Manpower without good cause attributable to her employer.  MCL 421.29(1)(a).

Mar 2014
17
March 17, 2014

COA rules that the Public Service Commission could make a "minor" modification to a wind-power transmission route without holding a contested case hearing

In In re Application of International Transmission Company, the Michigan Court of Appeals determined that the Michigan Public Service Commission (“PSC”) could approve a modification to a 2010 order related to a wind-power transmission line, without holding a contested case hearing on the proposed modification, because minor modifications were expressly contemplated by the order.
 

Mar 2014
13
March 13, 2014

COA holds taxpayer cannot use combined reporting where it failed to establish a "unitary" business

In Winget v Department of Treasury, the Court of Appeals rejected a taxpayer's attempt to use combined reporting of its business entities' income because the taxpayer failed to establish that the separate business entities were a "unitary" business.  When a taxpayer earns income both in Michigan and in other states, the Income Tax Act (ITA) allows the state to tax an apportionable share of the taxpayer's.  Michigan's share is determined by plugging the taxpayer's "business income" into an apportionment formula set forth in the ITA.  A taxpayer may combine its business income from all its separate business entities if those entities constitute a unitary business.  This method allows a taxpayer to reduce its tax obligations if some of its businesses operate at a gain while other businesses operate at a loss.  If the businesses entities are not a unitary business, then the tax payer must apply the apportionment formula to each business entity separately.  In this case, the taxpayer was the sole shareholder of several S-corporations that were involved in the automotive business.  The taxpayer failed, however, to provide any evidence that the S-corporations comprised a unitary business.  Accordingly, the COA affirmed the Tax Tribunal's determination that the apportionment formula must be applied to each S-corporation separately.

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