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139799 - Singer v Sreenivasan

John F. Singer, III,
John J. Cooper
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Macomb – Viviano, D.)
Anuradha Sreenivasan and Balaji Ganapathy,
Mary Massaron Ross


​On August 28, 2005, Anuradha Sreenivasan’s vehicle rear-ended John Singer’s SUV. Singer sued under the no-fault act on May 30, 2006, and the case proceeded to case evaluation. The case evaluators assessed the case at $95,000, but both parties rejected the evaluation award, and the case proceeded to trial. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Singer in the amount of $42,500, which the court adjusted for prejudgment interest to $46,758.41. Singer moved for entry of judgment, including interest and taxable costs, and the defendants filed a motion for case evaluation sanctions, costs, and attorney fees. Michigan Court Rule 2.403, which governs case evaluation sanctions, states in part that a party that rejects a case evaluation award must pay the opposing party’s “actual costs” unless the verdict is “more favorable to the rejecting party than the case evaluation sanction. However, if the opposing party has also rejected the evaluation, a party is entitled to costs only if the verdict is more favorable to that party than the evaluation.” Actual costs are defined to include taxable costs and “a reasonable attorney fee based on a reasonable hourly or daily rate as determined by the trial judge for services necessitated by the rejection of the case evaluation.” The rule also states that, for the purpose of determining taxable costs under MCR 2.403 and MCR 2.625, “the party entitled to recover actual costs under this rule shall be considered the prevailing party.” Based on the provisions of MCR 2.403, the trial court granted case evaluation sanctions to the defendants in the amount of $38,325, for 219 hours of attorney fees at $175 per hour. The defendants had actually paid their attorneys $110 per hour. The trial court denied Singer’s request for costs under MCR 2.625. Singer’s net judgment, after the deduction of the sanctions, became $8,433.41. Singer appealed to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed in an unpublished per curiam opinion. Singer appeals.