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A Better Partnership

November 2013

Nov 2013
November 15, 2013

Trial court abused its discretion in denying discovery where plaintiff stated a valid claim

In Thomai v. MIBA Hydramechanica Corporation, the Michigan Court of Appeals concluded that an injured worker sufficiently alleged that his employer willfully disregarded its knowledge of the dangerous condition of a machine the worker operated, such that he stated a valid claim under the intentional-tort exception to the Michigan Workers Compensation Act (the “WCA”). The trial court had abused its discretion in limiting worker’s ability to conduct discovery to support his claim, and erred in granting the employer summary disposition.

Nov 2013
November 14, 2013

COA holds polygraph can be excluded from FOIA request related to Oakland County Child Killings case

This case arose out of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), MCL 15.231 et seq., and involved requests for information about the Oakland County Child Killings of 1976 and 1977 by one of the victim’s family members. In King v. Michigan State Police Department, members of the King family requested information regarding Christopher Busch’s possible involvement in the abduction and killings of four children, including the fourth and final victim, who part of the King family. The Michigan State Police Department (“Police”) ultimately responded to the request by providing some of the information, withholding Busch’s polygraph examination as exempt from the FOIA, and charging the Kings $10,667.15 as reimbursement for its efforts.

Nov 2013
November 14, 2013

COA affirms decision to discharge teacher for drug and alcohol use

In Cona v. Avondale School District, a social studies teacher appealed the State Tenure Commission’s (Commission) decision to discharge him after he was convicted of driving while impaired, violated the terms of his probation by using drugs and alcohol, missed 17 days of work as a result of his incarceration, and provided false reasons for his absence.

Nov 2013
November 12, 2013

MSC will consider whether expert testimony regarding gang culture violated defendant's right to fair trial

The Michigan Supreme Court has granted the State leave to appeal in People v. Bynum to determine whether a trial court’s decision to allow an expert to testify about gang membership and culture violated a defendant’s right to a fair trial. Bynum was convicted of first degree murder (premeditated), assault, and various firearm charges. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Nov 2013
November 07, 2013

MSC to review constitutionality of Michigan's sentencing scheme permitting juvenile offenders to be sentenced to life without parole

The Michigan Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal in two cases, People v. Eliason and People v. Davis, where defendants under the age of eighteen were sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder. In Miller v Alabama, 567 U.S. ___ ; 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012), the United States Supreme Court held that sentencing schemes mandating life without parole, for juvenile offenders, are unconstitutional because they do not take into account a juvenile’s individual characteristics, which differ from that of adults.

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