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​The following are summaries of cases that were argued before the Michigan Supreme Court during the term from August 2011-July 31, 2012. This page also provides a status of the case, and links to the Court's opinion or order in each case this session. Further information may be obtained by calling the Supreme Court Clerk's Office at 517-373-0120. To help you select cases that may be of interest to you, the Court's staff has prepared the following synopses. These are simple summaries of complicated cases, and might not reflect the manner in which some or all of the Court's seven Justices view the cases. The lawyers may also disagree with regard to the facts, the issues, the procedural history, or the significance of their cases. For further details concerning these cases, you should contact the lawyers.
 

2011-2012 Arguments

 
  • /1//07/3

    Issue:

    Judge Sylvia A. James, a judge of the 22nd District Court in Inkster since 1988, was placed on administrative leave on April 13, 2011 by the Michigan Supreme Court, following a State Court Administrative Office audit of the court's community service program fund. On October 26, 2011, the Judicial Tenure Commission filed a formal complaint that charged the judge with four counts of judicial misconduct, alleging that the judge:

    •Engaged in financial improprieties. The JTC alleged that the judge used money from a community service program for travel expenses, to benefit organizations that were not related to the program, to pay for advertising that promoted the judge, and to benefit her niece, a co-director of the community service program, even after her niece resigned from th ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number:

    Opinions: 143942-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//07/2

    Issue:
    ​In 2011, the Legislature passed 2011 PA 4, the local government and school district fiscal accountability act (MCL 14.1501 et seq.), which provides for management and control of local governments’ finances in financial emergencies. PA 4 replaced 1990 PA 72, the Local Government Fiscal Responsibility Act (MCL 141.1201 et seq.). PA 4 granted broader powers to emergency managers than PA 72 did.

     
    Stand Up for Democracy, a citizens’ group and the plaintiff in this case, filed a petition with the Secretary of State seeking a referendum of the emergency financial manager law. The group’s ballot proposal would repeal PA 4 and reinstate PA 72. At issue is whether Stand Up for Democracy’s petition signature forms complied with a requirement for the petition head ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number:

    Opinions: 145387-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//05/0

    Issue:
    ​Marcy Hill bought a house in Clinton Township. When the sellers of the home moved out, they took their washer and natural gas-powered dryer with them. Although the sellers turned off the gas to the line feeding the dryer, they apparently did not cap the end of the line that attached to the dryer. Neither Hill nor anyone else noticed that the line was uncapped. She lived in the home with her daughter, Patricia, and son Christopher.


    Several weeks after moving in, Hill bought a new washer and electric-powered dryer from Sears. Exel Direct and Merchant Delivery delivered the dryer. Mark Pritchard and Timothy Dameron, two independent contractors, installed the dryer in a kitchen niche intended for washer/dryer appliances, at the direction of Hill’s mother. The dryer worked well for ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number:

    Opinions: 143329 143348 143633-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//04/0

    Issue:
    ​Arnold Mortimore’s wife died; the couple had been married for 53 years. Helen Fiser, whose husband had died about five months earlier, helped with the funeral and was soon involved in every aspect of Mortimore’s life; she managed his finances, paid his bills, and essentially ran his car repair business. Fiser suggested that he prepare a new will, and wanted him to add her name on deeds to his property. She assisted him in revoking a recently created trust, and contacted a notary public to attest to the documents.

    When Mortimore died on June 12, 2009, a neighbor called his daughter, Renee Hanneman, and told Hanneman that Fiser was moving everything out of Mortimore’s house. Hanneman called the police, who agreed to investigate, but said that it appeared to be a civil matter and ...More

    Calendar Number: 2

    Opinions:

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//04/0

    Issue:
    ​In this dental malpractice case, plaintiff Rodney Hanna alleges that his dentist, Dr. Dario Merlos, D.D.S., improperly diagnosed and treated Hanna’s teeth in June 2006. On November 8, 2006, Hanna wrote Dr. Merlos a seven-page letter that outlined Hanna’s claims of “poor diagnosis and treatment.” At the end of the letter, Hanna summarized his injuries and stated that he expected Merlos to “take care of [his] dental expenses” and to pay him an additional $7,000, for a total of “$9,829.00 if paid immediately.” Hanna’s attorney sent a second letter to Merlos later that month. Hanna filed his lawsuit on December 13, 2007. There is no evidence that Hanna filed an affidavit of merit with his complaint, despite the requirement of MCL 600.2912d(1) that a “plaintiff in an action alleging medical m ...More

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions:

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//04/0

    Issue:
    ​Joseph Paletta lost control of his motorcycle while riding on Union Lake Road, a paved road in Oakland County, and crashed. Paletta, who sustained numerous injuries, believed that the crash was caused by gravel on the traveled portion of the paved road surface. A nearby resident who witnessed the accident agreed. According to this witness, he had seen other drivers have problems with gravel on the roadway over the years, and he had complained several times to the Oakland County Road Commission.

    Paletta sued the road commission under the highway exception to the governmental tort liability act, claiming that the roadway was defective due to the road commission’s improper maintenance, and that it was unsafe for travel. MCL 691.1402(1) states that “each governmental agency having ...More

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions:

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//04/0

    Issue:
    ​Shawn Brown was arrested on charges of second-degree home invasion, larceny of firearms, felon in possession of a firearm, and larceny in a building, as a second habitual offender. Brown pled guilty, as a second habitual offender, to second-degree home invasion, in exchange for dismissal of the other charges. At sentencing, the trial court described the plea and maximum sentence to Brown: “You would plead guilty to the offense known as second-degree home invasion. That is a felony; it is punishable by up to fifteen years in the state prison. Do you understand?” Brown answered “Yes,” and entered a guilty plea. He was later sentenced to a prison term of six years, four months to 22.5 years. The maximum sentence increased from 15 years to 22.5 years because Brown pled guilty as a second-hab ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions: 143733-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//04/0

    Issue:
    ​James Douglas was riding a bicycle when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver; Douglas suffered a traumatic brain injury. Allstate Insurance Company was assigned to administer Douglas’ claim for no-fault benefits. In 2005, Douglas sued Allstate, claiming that the insurer had failed to pay all personal protection insurance benefits that were due under the no-fault act. Under MCL 500.3107(1)(a), “allowable expenses” consist of “all reasonable charges incurred for reasonably necessary products, services and accommodations for an injured person’s care, recovery, or rehabilitation.” Under MCL 500.3107(1)(a), family members are entitled to reasonable compensation for healthcare services (referred to as “attendant care services”) they provide at home to an injured person. Douglas argued in his ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 1

    Opinions: 143503-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//04/0

    Issue:
    In 2004, Penny Jo Johnson, a pedestrian, was hit by a pickup truck driven by John Recca. At the time, Johnson lived with her ex-mother-in-law, Harrietta Johnson. According to Johnson, she suffered serious injuries to her brain and spine, making it necessary for her ex-mother-in-law to help her with personal care and take over household chores. Neither woman owned a vehicle; Recca had a no-fault insurance policy with Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company.

    Johnson sued Allstate and Recca. In her first-party claim against Allstate, Johnson alleged that Allstate had failed to pay personal protection insurance benefits, including expenses for attendant care and replacement services that, Johnson claimed, her ex-mother-in-law had provided for three years. Under the no-faul ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 1

    Opinions: 143088-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//04/0

    Issue:
    Jared Scott Rapp, a Michigan State University law student, found a parking ticket on his car, which was parked on the MSU campus. Ricardo Rego, an MSU parking enforcement employee, was in the area, having another vehicle towed, when Rapp drove up, stopped his car in front of Rego’s vehicle, and got out, walking quickly toward Rego. Rapp yelled at Rego, asked if he was the one who gave Rapp the ticket, and demanded to know Rego’s name. Rego attempted to speak with Rapp, then got into his vehicle; following standard procedure, Rego called for a police officer. During the 10 to 15 minutes it took for a police officer to arrive, Rapp remained outside Rego’s vehicle, taking photos of Rego with his cell phone. Rego, meanwhile, sat in his truck and filled out paperwork. Rapp was charged with vio ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number:

    Opinions: 143343-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//04/0

    Issue:

    ​On September 9, 2009, Terry Nunley was pulled over by police for failing to properly secure the load on his truck; he was later charged with driving with a suspended license, second offense. The elements of that crime are (1) that a defendant’s license has been suspended, and (2) that he was notified of the first suspension as required by law. To establish these elements, the prosecutor obtained a copy of Nunley’s certified driving record from the Michigan Department of State. That record included a “Certificate of Mailing of Orders and Rest[ricted] Lic[ense],” stating:

     

    06/11/2009 CERTIFICATE OF MAILING OF ORDERS AND REST LICS (PRG/DR/2485)
    MIC. NO X1627 FOR MDR RUN NO. 162 DATED 06/11/2009 PAGE 11
     
    I CERTIFY THAT I AM EIG ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 5

    Opinions: 144036-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/2

    Issue:
    ​After the 2010 decennial census, Oakland County’s apportionment commission adopted a reapportionment plan for the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. This plan was consistent with the County Apportionment Act (MCL 46.401 et seq.). As permitted by the apportionment act, electors in the county challenged the plan in the Court of Appeals, arguing that the plan violated constitutional and statutory requirements. On November 15, 2011, the Court of Appeals upheld the plan; the plaintiffs in that case did not appeal to the Supreme Court.

    Meanwhile, the legislature adopted Public Act 280, which amends the County Apportionment Act to reduce the maximum number of commissioners that a county may have from 35 to 21. In counties with more than the allowable number of commission ...More

    Calendar Number: 1

    Opinions:

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/2

    Issue:
    ​On May 16, 2008, Craig Smith, Jr. was driving a car owned by his father, Craig Smith, Sr., when he hit a tree and was injured. Craig Jr. was legally intoxicated and had no valid license at the time of the accident. He was treated at Spectrum Health Hospitals.

    Spectrum sued Farm Bureau, which insured the car, for Craig Jr.’s medical expenses, but the insurance company argued that it was not liable, contending that Craig Jr. had “unlawfully” taken the car. Craig Sr. had entrusted the vehicle to Craig Jr.’s girlfriend with instructions that she not allow Craig Jr. to drive it, but she had given Craig Jr. permission to take the car. Farm Bureau argued that Craig Jr. – who knew that his father did not want him to drive the car – had “taken unlawfully” in violation of Michigan’s No- ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 1

    Opinions: 142874, 143330-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:
    ​Titan Insurance Company issued an automobile insurance policy to McKinley Hyten with $100,000/$300,000 policy limits. Although Hyten’s driver’s license was suspended at the time, she expected that it would be reinstated by the policy’s effective date. Hyten’s license was not actually reinstated, however, until about a month after the policy went into effect. Some months later, Hyten injured Howard and Martha Holmes in an automobile collision; the Holmeses were insured by Farm Bureau Insurance Company and had underinsured motorist’s coverage.

    Titan Insurance filed a declaratory action against Hyten, the Holmeses, and Farm Bureau, seeking to reform its policy with Hyten to reduce the coverage to the statutory minimum of $20,000/$40,000; Titan argued that it was entitled to refor ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 4

    Opinions: 142774-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:
    ​A defendant in a criminal proceeding has both a state and federal constitutional right to a public trial. US Const Am VI; Const 1963, art 1, § 20. The right includes the right to have the courtroom open to the public during jury voir dire. Presley v Georgia, 558 US ___; 130 S Ct 721; 175 L Ed 2d 675 (2010). During Joseph Vaughn’s criminal trial, the judge closed the courtroom to the public during voir dire and jury selection; Vaughn’s attorney did not object. The jury eventually convicted Vaughn of two counts of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm, felon in possession of a firearm, and felony-firearm, second offense. Vaughn was sentenced to three and a half to 10 years for each assault conviction, two to five years for the felon in possession conviction, and five yea ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 7

    Opinions: 142627-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:
    ​A quo warranto action is brought to inquire into the authority by which a public office is held. Michigan Court Rule 3.306(A)(1) requires a quo warranto action against a person who unlawfully holds state office to be brought in the Court of Appeals. Under MCR 3.306(B)(3)(a), a person may apply to the Attorney General to have the Attorney General bring a quo warranto action. Under MCR 3.306(B)(3)(b) and MCL 600.4501, if the Attorney General refuses to bring the action, a private party may bring the action himself.

    In this case, petitioner Robert Davis asked the Attorney General to initiate quo warranto proceedings against respondent Roy Roberts, the emergency manager for the Detroit Public Schools. Davis sought the quo warranto action because Roberts did not take the oath of o ...More

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions:

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:
    ​Thelma Johnson sued doctors who treated Carl Johnson before his death and Hurley Medical Center, for medical malpractice. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. They argued that Johnson’s pre-suit notice of intent to sue, which is required by MCL 600.2912b, did not satisfy the statute’s requirements. As a result, the defendants contended, the statute of limitations was not tolled, and the time for filing the lawsuit had run out before Johnson sued them. The trial court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit, but the Court of Appeals reversed in an unpublished per curiam opinion. The Court of Appeals turned to Bush v Shabahang, 484 Mich 156 (2009), which held that MCL 600.5856, as amended in 2004, provided that a notice of intent filed in a medical malpractice case tolle ...More

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions:

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:
    ​In December 2004, Michigan Properties L.L.C. purchased three apartment complexes in Meridian Township. In January 2005, Michigan Properties filed the required property transfer affidavits, advising the township that there had been a transfer of ownership of the property. Such a transfer allows the township to base the taxable value of the property on the property’s state equalized value for the following year without regard to the limitations imposed by Proposal A (Const 1963, art 9, § 3) and the enabling statute MCL 211.27a. Proposal A caps the amount that a property’s taxable value can increase each year, even if the property’s true cash value or actual market value rose at a greater rate. The taxable value is “uncapped” upon a transfer of ownership: MCL 211.27a(3) states that “the pro ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 5

    Opinions: 143085-7-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:

    ​Toll Northville is a residential property developer. In 2000, the township of Northville increased the taxable value of a parcel of land owned by Toll Northville pursuant to MCL 211.34d(1)(b)(viii). That statute permitted a township to increase taxable property values attributable to public infrastructure improvements. Toll Northville did not challenge the assessment for tax year 2000 before the local Board of Review. In 2001, Toll Northville filed an appeal of its assessment for tax year 2001, claiming that MCL 211.34d(1)(b)(viii) was unconstitutional. Because the Tax Tribunal has no authority to rule on the statute’s constitutionality, the parties agreed, with the tribunal’s approval, that Toll Northville would resolve its constitutional claims through a declaratory judgment in circ ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 6

    Opinions: 143281-143085-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:
    ​Kenneth Admire was injured in a motor vehicle accident in 1987, leaving him bound to a wheelchair. The driver of the other vehicle was insured by Auto-Owners Insurance Company. Under the no-fault act (MCL 500.3103 et seq.), Auto-Owners became responsible for paying personal protection insurance benefits to Admire.

    As a result of his injuries, Admire is unable to get in or out of a standard vehicle, and needs hand controls for accelerations and braking. To accommodate Admire’s special needs, Auto-Owners paid the full cost of three modified vans at seven-year intervals. Under the most recent transportation agreement, in April 2000, Auto-Owners agreed to pay $37,807.76 for a van. In December 2006, Admire’s guardian, Russell Admire, notified Auto-Owners that it was time t ...More

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions: 142842 Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:
    ​Vivian Atkins was injured when the SMART bus she was riding on collided with another SMART bus. Within two weeks, Atkins contacted ASU Group, SMART’s auto no-fault claims representative. ASU forwarded Atkins a no-fault claim form, which she completed and returned to ASU; this form included information about Atkins’ injuries and identified her medical providers. ASU also received an attending physician’s report stating that Atkins was on a medical leave of absence and that her mother and daughter were providing some household services for her.

    More than 60 days after the accident, Atkins sued SMART alleging, among other things, that SMART’s negligence caused her injuries. But SMART moved to dismiss the negligence portion of Atkins’ lawsuit, arguing that she had not served writt ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions: 140401-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:

    In August 2003, Rudy Sterrett took out a loan with Dart Bank for $192,000, and granted Dart a mortgage on his DeWitt home. Soon after that, Sterrett died, and Lori Jean Kosmalski inherited the property. Three years later, Nastassia Price and Erin Duffy-Price, personal representatives of the Estate of Darryl Houston Price, filed a lawsuit to collect a judgment against various defendants, including Kosmalski. At the Prices’ request, the court appointed a receiver, Thomas Woods, to seize and sell the property to satisfy the judgment. Dart claims that it did not seek the appointment of a receiver or consent to the receiver’s appointment.

    Shortly after his appointment, Woods learned that the DeWitt home was uninhabitable; it had to be cleaned, disinfected, repaired, and painte ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 9

    Opinions: 143123-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:
    ​Ryan DeYoung has four drunk driving convictions and has not held a driver’s license since age 17. He was listed as an excluded driver on his wife’s no-fault insurance policy with Progressive Marathon Insurance Company; in addition, she had forbidden him to drive the car. Nevertheless, DeYoung took the car without her consent and, while intoxicated, crashed the car and was seriously injured.

    DeYoung incurred medical expenses at Spectrum Health Hospitals and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and sought personal protection insurance benefits from Progressive, but the insurer denied the claim. Progressive filed a declaratory judgment against the DeYoungs, seeking a determination that Ryan DeYoung was not entitled to PIP benefits because, at the time of the accident, he was usi ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 2

    Opinions: 142874, 143330-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:
    ​David Mark Cole was charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving his five-year-old stepdaughter. He entered a no contest plea, with a Cobbs evaluation for concurrent five-year minimum sentences. (Under People v Cobbs, 443 Mich 276 (1993), a defendant may agree to a guilty or no-contest plea after being informed by the judge of the likely sentence; the judge determines the sentence based on an evaluation of the facts in the case, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors.) The judge sentenced Cole to concurrent terms of five to 15 years in prison, and also ordered Cole to be placed on lifetime electronic monitoring following his release from prison. MCL 750.520n(1) provides that a person over 17 years old convicted of second-degree ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 3

    Opinions: 143046-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:
    ​On December 12, 2007, Christina McCahan was injured in a collision with a vehicle owned by the University of Michigan and driven by a university employee. On May 7, 2008, McCahan’s attorney sent a written notice addressed to the university’s Office of Legal Counsel, explaining that McCahan intended to sue. Three weeks later, a senior claims representative from the university’s Risk Management Services sent a letter acknowledging the attorney’s letter and indicating that the university intended to conduct a full investigation into the incident. The representative also requested additional information from McCahan, including a statement by McCahan, and copies of medical records and medical bills. McCahan provided the university with her statement on June 12, 2008, the six-month anniversary ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions: 142765-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//03/0

    Issue:
    ​The Davison Community Schools opened bidding on a construction project to renovate two elementary schools. The school district contracted with Tomblinson, Harburn Associates Architects & Planners, Inc., an architectural firm, to assist the school district with the competitive bidding selection process. The firm’s duties included reviewing and evaluating bid applications, investigating contractors and their references, giving opinions on contractors’ competence and workmanship, and making recommendations regarding which contractor should be awarded the project.

    Although Cedroni Associates, Inc. submitted the lowest bid on the construction project, the school district, on Tomblinson, Harburn’s recommendation, awarded the contract to the second lowest bidder. Cedroni sued Tom ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions: 142339-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//01/1

    Issue:
    ​In 1994, the Michigan Legislature authorized the non-profit health insurance carrier Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to acquire the State Accident Fund, the state’s largest worker’s compensation carrier, and operate it as a wholly-owned for-profit stock insurance subsidiary. In 2005, the Accident Fund bought United Wisconsin Insurance Company, a worker’s compensation carrier. In the summer of 2007, the Fund acquired CWI Holdings, Inc., a Delaware company that owns 100 percent of CompWest Insurance Company, a California property and casualty insurance company that writes workers’ compensation insurance primarily in California. Also in the summer of 2007, the Accident Fund acquired the Third Coast Insurance Company, an inactive property and casualty insurance company located in Illinois ...More

    Calendar Number: 3

    Opinions:

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//01/1

    Issue:
    ​Alexander Kolanek came to the attention of the police on April 6, 2009, when he and a bank customer got into an argument in the bank’s parking lot. A sheriff’s deputy who responded to the bank customer’s 911 call searched Kolanek’s car and found, among other things, a pill bottle containing eight marijuana cigarettes. Kolanek was charged with marijuana possession. Kolanek, who claimed that he had the marijuana for medical purposes as allowed by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MCL 333.26421 et seq.), did not have a “registry identification card” at the time of his arrest. He submitted an application for a registry card on April 12, 2009, along with a qualifying patient certificate from his doctor. His Marijuana Registry Patient ID Card was issued on May 1, 2009.

    On ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 5

    Opinions: 142695, 142712-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//01/1

    Issue:
    The state police received an anonymous tip that marijuana was being grown in the backyard of an Owosso house. Two officers drove to the house, where they saw a chain-link dog kennel covered with black plastic. Using binoculars, one officer could see marijuana plants growing inside the kennel where a section of the plastic had become detached. The officers spoke to Larry King, who produced a registry card for medical use of marijuana. When the officers asked King to show them the marijuana plants, King retrieved a key and unlocked a lock on the kennel. The kennel, which contained six marijuana plants, was six feet tall, but had an open top and was not anchored to the ground. The officers obtained a warrant to search King’s home, and found additional marijuana plants growing inside King’s u ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 6

    Opinions: 142850-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//01/1

    Issue:
    ​William DeFrain was walking in Florida on May 31, 2008, when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver. DeFrain suffered a brain injury that required hospitalization and surgery; he died on November 11, 2008. DeFrain’s State Farm auto insurance policy included uninsured motorist coverage; the insured’s duties under the policy included providing notice of an accident to State Farm “as soon as reasonably possible.” The policy contained a separate provision about the insured’s duties with regard to uninsured motorist coverage and hit-and-run accidents. Under this provision, a “person” making a claim under “Uninsured Motor Vehicle Coverage must report an accident, involving a ‘hit-and-run’ motor vehicle to the police within 24 hours and to us within 30 days.”

    ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions: 142956-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//01/1

    Issue:
    ​On February 20, 2006, shortly before 6 p.m. five-year-old Robert Turner called 911 after finding his mother, Sherrill Turner, lying unconscious on the floor of her bedroom. He told 911 operator Sherry Nichols that his “mom has passed out.” When Nichols asked to speak to his mother, Robert said, “She’s not gonna . . . she not gonna talk.” Although Nichols told the boy that she would send the police to the house, she did not do so, logging the call as a child’s prank. Three hours later, Robert again called 911, reaching operator Terri Sutton. When Robert said that his mom “has passed out in her room,” Sutton asked, “Where the grown-up at?” Robert answered, “In her room. . . .” Sutton asked to speak to her, and Robert repeated that his mother had passed out and was not going to talk. Sutton ...More

    Calendar Number: 4

    Opinions:

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  • /1//01/1

    Issue:
    ​The complainant claimed that, shortly after noon on May 12, 2001, James Grissom physically and sexually assaulted her in her car in the parking lot of the Fort Gratiot Meijer store. According to the complainant, Grissom penetrated her both with his finger and with his penis. Although she later gave a detailed account of the assault, she did not initially report being raped. Her husband later testified that he knew that something was wrong at the time; when the complainant returned home, she told him that she had been physically attacked, but did not immediately report the sexual assault, her husband said. According to her husband, the complainant had a cut by her mouth and was “incoherent” and “rambling,” but neither of them contacted the police that day. Two days later, the complainant ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 1

    Opinions: Opinion - 140147

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//01/1

    Issue:
    ​Verdell Reese was charged with second-degree murder. At a bench trial – a trial where a judge, rather than a jury, makes findings of fact – Reese was found guilty of manslaughter, as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm and committing a felony with a firearm. The trial judge found that Reese and the victim, Leonardo Johnson, were arguing over a debt, and that Reese fired first at Johnson from a vehicle as Johnson walked toward his home. The two then exchanged words; Johnson shot at Reese, who fired more shots at Johnson, and Johnson was shot to death by Reese, the trial judge found. The trial court then determined that Reese “did not act in lawful self- defense” and was “clearly . . . the aggressor” finding that Reese “fired the first shot prompting Mr. Johnson to be on guard ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 7

    Opinions: 142913-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//01/1

    Issue:
    ​Natasha Lynn Brumley and David Lenin Morris challenge the termination of their parental rights to their daughter, who was removed from Brumley’s custody after the child tested positive for cocaine at birth. During a preliminary hearing in family court, both parents indicated that they were of Cherokee descent. The family court ordered the parents to comply with a parent-agency agreement, and the Department of Human Services provided various services to Brumley and Morris, including substance abuse rehabilitation programs for Brumley and parenting classes for both of them. But the family court ultimately terminated their parental rights, finding in part that neither Brumley nor Morris benefitted from the services offered to them.

    The parents appealed, but the Court of Appeals a ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 2

    Opinions: 142759-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//01/1

    Issue:
    ​Courtney Hinkle first came to the attention of Children’s Protective Services after she was suspected of neglecting her months-old infant. When the child was one year old, CPS learned that he had been treated for second-degree burns to his hands, allegedly caused by a fall into a fireplace, and that Hinkle had not obtained follow-up medical care for him as directed. CPS filed a court action, and the child was taken into protective custody and placed in foster care. After attempting to provide services for Hinkle and concluding that she did not benefit from them, the Department of Human Services filed a petition seeking termination of Hinkle’s parental rights. At the conclusion of the termination hearing, the circuit judge found that DHS had established grounds for termination, and that t ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions: 143673-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//01/1

    Issue:
    ​After a report of possible child abuse was made to Children’s Protective Services, a caseworker visited Malini Rao’s home and observed that her adopted daughter had a swollen cheek, bruised face, black eye, and cuts to her lower lip and eyelid. Rao admitted that she sometimes struck the child in the face in order to discipline her. The caseworker took the child and Rao to the hospital so that the child could be evaluated by a physician. X-rays revealed multiple rib fractures at various stages of healing; the examining physician reported that the number of injuries of varying ages made him suspect “non-accidental trauma” or child abuse. A physician with expertise in child abuse reached the same conclusion after reviewing those x-rays and conducting a skeletal survey.

    The child ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions: 142537-Opinion.pdf

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  • /1//12/0

    Issue:
    ​On May 4, 2008, a Michigan State Police trooper stopped a vehicle driven by Nancy Prins and ticketed her passenger for not wearing a seat belt. In a letter dated July 22, 2008, Prins made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Michigan State Police, asking for “[a]ny recording or other electronic media taken by [the trooper] on May 4th, 2008 between the hours of 10:00 am to 12:00 pm of me while traveling upon Morrison Lake Rd and Grand River Rd, within Boston Twp., Ionia County, Michigan.” By letter dated Saturday, July 26, 2008, the Michigan State Police denied the request, explaining that “[a]ny car video that may have existed is no longer available. Only kept 30 days [and] reused.” This response was postmarked July 29; Prins received it on July 31.

    On Monday, January 2 ...More

    Calendar Number: 6

    Opinions:

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  • /1//12/0

    Issue:
    ​Charlotte Hoffner slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk near the only entrance to Fitness Xpress, where she had a membership. The fitness club was located in a commercial building owned by Richard and Lori Lanctoe. Under the lease agreement signed by each tenant, the Lanctoes were responsible for snow removal from the sidewalk and parking lot; Fitness Xpress personnel would occasionally salt the sidewalk in front of the building entrance with salt provided by the Lanctoes.

    Hoffner sued the Lanctoes and Fitness Xpress, along with its owners; all the defendants moved to dismiss her claims. The Fitness Xpress defendants argued that they were not liable because they did not have possession and control of the sidewalk where the slip and fall occurred. All the defendants pointed to a ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions: 142267-Opinion.pdf

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  • /1//12/0

    Issue:
    ​During the early morning of May 5, 2009, Marteez Laidler and Dante Holmes tried to break into a house in Detroit; as Holmes tried to enter through a window, the homeowner shot and killed him. Laidler was charged with first-degree home invasion and was tried before a Wayne County jury. The prosecutor’s theory was that Laidler assisted Holmes by helping him up to the window, which was six feet above the ground. The jury found Laidler guilty as charged.

    At sentencing, the prosecutor argued that the trial court should assess 100 points under Offense Variable 3 (degree of physical injury to a victim) because Holmes was killed during the home invasion. Defense counsel objected, arguing that Laidler did not intend to kill anyone, and that scoring OV 3 at 100 points would lead to an e ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions: 142442-142443-Opinion.pdf

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  • /1//12/0

    Issue:
    ​On May 28, 2006, Arthur and Elaine Whitmore were injured when their motorcycle hit a large pothole on Charlevoix County’s Advance Road near the intersection of Cummings Road. Over the next two months, the Charlevoix County Road Commission, which already had a plan to repair the road, patched the pothole and repaved this section of Advance Road.

    On September 19, 2006, the Whitmores’ attorney gave the road commission notice of his clients’ injury and the alleged defect in the road, pursuant to MCL 691.1404(1). On May 27, 2008, the Whitmores filed their lawsuit, alleging, among other matters, that the road commission failed to maintain the improved portion of the roadway in reasonable repair, and failed to repair or warn motorists of the “dangerous and defective condition” in the ...More

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions:

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  • /1//12/0

    Issue:
    ​At the time of his injury, Michael Nason was a 43-year-old prison guard with the Michigan Department of Corrections, a position he had held since 1989. His job duties, maintaining custody and security inside the Marquette Branch Prison, included escorting prisoners, climbing stairs, and being on his feet for six and a half to eight hours per day. While vacationing in Tobago, Nason was hit from behind by a 15-foot wave, which picked him up and drove his heel into the hard-packed sand, shattering his right heel bone. He took a disability leave from work and underwent surgery. Nason then filed an application for non-duty disability retirement under MCL 38.24. That statute allows a member of the State Employees’ Retirement System to retire if, among other things, that person becomes “totally ...More

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions:

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  • /1//12/0

    Issue:
    ​During a traffic stop, the defendant, one of several passengers in the car, got out of the car, but then complied with the police officer’s command to get back inside. The officer noticed a cigarette pack on the ground that contained a rock of crack cocaine. The defendant was arrested for possession of cocaine; he denied that the cigarette pack was his and asked for the pack to be tested for fingerprints. After a trial, the defendant was convicted as charged. At sentencing, the trial court scored Offense Variable 19 (MCL 777.49 – interference with administration of justice) at 10 points. The Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that the score was appropriate based on the defendant’s attempts to deflect blame from himself. Can OV 19 be scored under these circumstances?
    ...More

    Calendar Number: 1

    Opinions:

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  • /1//12/0

    Issue:
    ​ A computer error in Kent County resulted in a disproportionately low number of juror questionnaires being sent to residents of the zip codes that contained the county’s highest concentrations of racial minorities. The defendant, who was convicted of several crimes following a jury trial, objected that African-Americans were underrepresented in the jury pool. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied the defendant’s motion for a new trial. The Court of Appeals reversed, ruling that the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a jury drawn from a fair cross-section of the community had been violated. In evaluating whether a distinctive group has been sufficiently underrepresented so as to violate the Sixth Amendment’s fair cross-section requirement, may a court examine only the com ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 2

    Opinions: 141741-Opinion.pdf

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  • /1//12/0

    Issue:
    ​The defendant was convicted after a jury trial of carjacking and felony-firearm. At trial, the jurors were instructed that they could engage in pre-deliberation discussions amongst themselves as part of a pilot project to study proposed jury reforms. Those proposed rules included allowing judges to inform jurors that they may discuss evidence among themselves during trial recesses. Was the defendant’s right to a fair trial and impartial jury prejudiced by allowing the jurors to discuss the evidence before final deliberations?
    ...More

    Calendar Number: 3

    Opinions:

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  • /1//12/0

    Issue:
    ​Doreen Joseph became a quadriplegic, and suffered traumatic brain injury, as a result of a 1977 auto accident; at the time, she was 17 years old. Over the years, Auto Club Insurance Association paid over $4 million to various care providers for Joseph’s care and rehabilitation, under her parents’ no-fault auto insurance policy. In February 2009, Joseph sued ACIA to compel the insurer to also pay for care provided by her mother, Marilyn Joseph. ACIA filed a motion for partial summary disposition, contending that it was not responsible for paying for care Marilyn Joseph provided. Among other matters, ACIA argued that, under the no-fault act’s one-year-back provision, MCL 500.3145(1), Joseph was barred from recovering benefits incurred before February 27, 2008, one year before Joseph filed ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 4

    Opinions: 142615-Opinion.pdf

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  • /1//12/0

    Issue:
    ​Myriam Velez, the plaintiff in this medical malpractice case, settled before trial with some of the defendants for $195,000. She then proceeded to trial against defendant Martin Tuma, M.D. The jury returned a verdict for Velez of $124,831.86 for past and present economic damages (although this amount was reduced to zero when collateral source payments were considered), and $1,400,000 for past and present non-economic damages, for a total award of $1,524,831.86.

    The dispute in this case is how to calculate the judgment against Tuma, taking into consideration the jury’s award of damages and the pre-trial settlement that Velez reached with the other defendants. Liability in this case is joint and several, meaning that each defendant can be held liable for the full amount of Velez ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 5

    Opinions: 138952-Opinion.pdf

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  • /1//11/1

    Issue:
    ​James Buie was accused of breaking into a Grand Rapids home and sexually assaulting two children and their adult babysitter. Two expert witnesses who testified at trial did so via two-way interactive video conferencing. Before the witnesses testified, Buie’s attorney told the court that she had no objection to the use of video technology, but that Buie, “wanted to question the veracity of the proceedings . . . .”

     
    One of the two witnesses, an expert in child sexual abuse who had collected DNA evidence and examined the two children, was employed by Wayne State University and Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit at the time of trial. The other witness, who testified about DNA testing he had performed in the case, was located in Virginia at the time of trial, but had ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 11

    Opinions: 142698-Opinion.pdf

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  • /1//11/1

    Issue:
    ​Donald T. McCue and his wife Debra were participating in the 2008 Annual Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinac bike tour. Debra McCue rode onto a stretch of State Highway M-134 where a private gravel road connected with the highway; O-N Minerals Company owned the land on both sides of M-134, including the gravel road, which the company used to move equipment and materials to and from its properties on both sides of the highway. O-N Minerals used the highway crossing under an easement with the state. The highway was paved with concrete and reinforced with six railroad rails at the point where the gravel road connected to the highway; the concrete around the rails had deteriorated, leaving ruts in the road. Debra McCue fell in this area and suffered serious injuries, including a fractured skull a ...More

    Calendar Number: 12

    Opinions:

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  • /1//11/1

    Issue:

    ​The Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., is owned by the mortgage industry and operated as a nationwide membership organization. MERS tracks transfers of beneficial ownership interests in mortgage loans on behalf of MERS members and also tracks changes in mortgage servicing rights among the members. According to briefs submitted in this case, MERS was developed to allow faster and lower-cost buying and selling of mortgage debt. As part of the national electronic registry, MERS serves as the “nominee” or limited agent for the beneficial owners – the lender – of the mortgage loan. As nominee, MERS serves as the mortgagee; when mortgage loans are bought and sold, MERS remains the mortgagee of record, with the authority to enforce mortgage rights on the lender’s behalf. Accordi ...More

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions:

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  • /1//11/0

    Issue:
    ​Richard Pullen was charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of aggravated indecent exposure, based on sexual contact with his then-12-year-old granddaughter. The granddaughter alleged that Pullen touched her breasts with his hands, touched her genitals under her clothes, and masturbated when he knew she was watching.

    Before the case went to trial, the prosecutor filed a notice of intent to use other acts evidence under MCL 768.27a. That statute states that, “in a criminal case in which the defendant is accused of committing a listed offense against a minor, evidence that the defendant committed another listed offense against a minor is admissible and may be considered for its bearing on any matter to which it is relevant.” The prosecutor p ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 10

    Opinions: 142751-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//11/0

    Issue:
    ​Worth Township, located in Sanilac County along the shores of Lake Huron, does not operate a public sanitary-sewerage system; local residences and businesses rely on private septic systems for waste disposal. Some of these septic systems located along a five-mile strip of shoreline are failing, and effluent is being discharged into Lake Huron. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality encouraged the township to install a public sanitary-sewerage system, but the township concluded that such a project was not financially feasible. The department and its director sued the township, arguing that, under the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, the township was responsible for the discharge and should be compelled to correct the situation. The act states in part that “[t] ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 4

    Opinions: 141810-Opinion.pdf

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  • /1//11/0

    Issue:
    ​EnGenius, Inc. (EnGenius) and EnGenius-EU, Ltd. (EEU) sued Ford Motor Company, claiming that Ford had violated two contracts with the EnGenius companies. The first contract was a technical support agreement referred to by the parties as the “FACTS Contract.” That agreement called for EnGenius to provide technical support for the “FACTS system,” an end-of-the-line vehicle testing system, for the life of Ford’s use of the system. In return, Ford agreed to exclusively use EnGenius for support, and EnGenius agreed to maintain the resources and personnel necessary to support the system as it was phased out. The second contract was a five-year agreement known as the “eCATS Contract,” under which EnGenius was to develop and implement the replacement system for the outdated FACTS system. To purs ...More

    Calendar Number: 2

    Opinions:

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  • /1//11/0

    Issue:
    ​Glenn Williams entered the Admiral Tobacco store in Muskegon County and approached the store clerk, who was behind the cash register. Standing to the side of the register and holding his hand inside his coat, Williams told the clerk, “[Y]ou know what this is, just give me what I want.” Williams fled, however, without obtaining anything.

    Williams was arrested and charged as a fourth felony offender, with armed robbery and assault with intent to rob while armed. Williams agreed to plead guilty to armed robbery. At the plea hearing, Williams admitted that he entered the Admiral Tobacco store with his hand under his coat, intending to steal money. The prosecutor and defense counsel agreed that the facts were sufficient to support a conviction for armed robbery. Williams was senten ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 3

    Opinions: 141161-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//11/0

    Issue:
    ​Lincoln Watkins was charged with first-degree and second-degree criminal sexual conduct, based on allegations that he committed sexual acts with his then-12-year-old babysitter. The prosecution sought to admit evidence that Watkins had also committed similar sexual acts with a different girl who had occasionally babysat for Watkins’ children. Watkins was tried three times, with his first trial ending in a hung jury and the second in a mistrial. At a third trial, following a ruling from the Court of Appeals, the trial court allowed the evidence of the other babysitter to be admitted. The Court of Appeals cited MCL 768.27a, which states that, “in a criminal case in which the defendant is accused of committing a listed offense against a minor, evidence that the defendant committed another l ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 9

    Opinions: 142031-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//11/0

    Issue:

    ​Candice Johnson has a medical condition that causes her cervix to open prematurely during pregnancy, causing her to have a number of miscarriages. Despite this condition, she was able to carry three pregnancies to term when her doctor performed a cerclage, a procedure in which the cervix was stitched closed to prevent it from opening prematurely. Doctor Rajan Pastoriza treated Johnson during her pregnancy in 2005; he was aware of Johnson’s medical history. During an appointment on October 19, 2005, Johnson complained of cramping and a feeling she described as “like pre-term labor,” she asked Pastoriza to perform a cerclage, but he declined. On November 1, Johnson’s cervix opened; despite an emergency cerclage, she prematurely delivered a non-viable fetus at 20 weeks gestation.

    < ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 5

    Opinions: 142127-Opinion.pdf

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  • /1//11/0

    Issue:
    ​Joseph Franklin was charged with first-degree home invasion, larceny in a building, larceny of a firearm, and felony-firearm. He pleaded guilty to second-degree home invasion in exchange for the prosecutor’s agreement to dismiss the remaining charges. Franklin’s attorney asked for an evaluation pursuant to People v Cobbs, 443 Mich 276, 283 (1993), from the trial court, asking that Franklin be sentenced to probation under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act , MCL 762.11, if he qualified for it. A Cobbs evaluation is the judge’s initial determination of the appropriate sentence for the charged offense, based on information available at the plea proceeding. The judge’s evaluation must be made at a party’s request and not on the judge’s own initiative. The trial judge in Frankl ...More

    Calendar Number: 6

    Opinions:

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  • /1//11/0

    Issue:
    ​On May 1, 2008, Richard and Brenda Kowalski were found shot to death in their Oceola Township home. On the day that the bodies were discovered, police questioned Jerome Kowalski, the brother of Richard Kowalski. Five days later, Kowalski came to the police station, at the request of police, for follow-up questioning. Officers interrogated Kowalski for two hours, and asked him to take a polygraph examination. Approximately one hour into the pre-test interview, Kowalski told the polygrapher that he dreamed that he shot his brother. At this point, police began to videotape the interrogation. The results of the polygraph were inconclusive, but after the test, two officers interrogated Kowalski for another hour and a half hours. Kowalski was arrested and transported to the jail, where he was ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 7

    Opinions: 141932-Opinion.pdf

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  • /1//11/0

    Issue:

    ​The city of Cadillac and Wexford County entered into two contracts, one in 1977 and one in 1980, under which the city agreed to provide wastewater collection and treatment for local townships that bordered two polluted lakes. The contracts required a “buy-in” payment from the townships at a price equivalent to the proportion of each township’s projected use of the city’s wastewater treatment system. The contracts provided that the contracts would be in effect until 2017, but could be renewed for successive ten-year terms by the parties’ agreement.

     

    In November 2006, the city notified the townships that it did not intend to renew the contracts upon their expiration in May 2017. Haring Township filed a complaint alleging that the city had a legal obligation to contin ...More

    Calendar Number: 8

    Opinions:

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  • /1//10/2

    Issue:
    ​On December 30, 2005, while leaving for work, Mona Lisa Frazier fell and broke her ankle in her condominium parking lot. According to Frazier, she went to her carport and opened her truck’s front passenger door to put a work bag and other items inside. There was ice in the parking lot, and the passenger side of the truck was near a step incline. Frazier said that, after putting her belongings in the truck, she stepped aside to make room to close the door, but slipped on ice and fell. She testified that she was touching the door when she fell, but probably slid a short way from the truck because of the steep incline and the impact of her fall. Frazier had surgery to repair her ankle, but never returned to her job, and reported that she experienced pain for years after the accident.

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 1

    Opinions: 142545, 142547-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//10/0

    Issue:
    ​At issue is whether the defendant in this case, Selesa Likine, should have been allowed to present evidence of her inability to pay when she was tried for failure to pay support for her three children. In her divorce case about three years earlier, the family court had initially ordered Likine to pay $54 per month in child support. But, after Likine’s ex-husband moved for an increase, the court ultimately raised the amount to $1,131 a month, based on the court’s finding that Likine had imputed income of $5,000 per month. The court cited evidence that Likine had purchased a home worth $409,000 and had listed her income on the mortgage applications as $15,000 per month.

    In March 2008, Likine was charged with one count of failing to pay child support, a criminal felony. MCL 750.1 ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 2

    Opinions: 141154-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//10/0

    Issue:
    ​Dr. Michael Parks and Diane Parks divorced in November 2000. Parks was a rural doctor with a solo practice, who sometimes took work as a contract physician. The family court initially ordered him to pay $230 per week in child support for the parties’ three children, later increasing the amount to $761 per week.

    After failing to pay child support from October 1, 2006 through July 15, 2008, Parks was charged with violating MCL 750.165, a felony charge. Evidence presented at trial established that, during that period, Parks made “several” requests for the family court to reduce his child support obligation, but did not provide documentation to support his claim that he could not afford to pay. In the criminal proceeding, Parks objected that his support payment was based on the as ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 3

    Opinions: 141181-Opinion.pdf

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  • /1//10/0

    Issue:
    ​Scott Harris was divorced from Lavonne Harris in November 2003. The family court ordered him to pay child support for two of his children. After failing to pay child support for about five years, Harris was criminally charged, under MCL 750.165 and as a fourth-felony habitual offender, with felony non-payment of child support. Harris entered a guilty plea in the criminal proceeding in exchange for a sentencing agreement pursuant to People v Cobbs, 443 Mich 276 (1993). The court agreed that sentencing would be delayed by two months, until December 8, 2008; if Harris paid $3,000 of the amount owed by that date, the court would further delay sentencing until May 2009. If Harris paid another $5,000 on the arrearage by May 2009, the court agreed that it would not sentence Harris to a ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 4

    Opinions: 141513 Opinion.pdf

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  • /1//10/0

    Issue:
    ​In March 2009, Ursula Mays left her daughters, aged seven and nine, alone at home at about 7:00 p.m.; she did not tell the girls where she was going or how to reach her. Around midnight, Mays’ former boyfriend stopped by the house and found the girls alone; just after 1:00 a.m., he took them to the police station. Children’s Protective Services worker James Taylor interviewed the girls, who reported that this was not the first time that their mother had left them alone at home. Taylor asked the court to take temporary jurisdiction of the children and to authorize their removal from Mays’ home. The court agreed, and the children were placed with their maternal grandmother. In April, Mays appeared in court and entered a plea to the allegations in the petition.

    Based on Mays’ ple ...More

    Calendar Number: 10

    Opinions:

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  • /1//10/0

    Issue:
    ​Ronald Rose was charged with repeatedly sexually abusing his wife’s young sister, and with showing pornographic movies and magazines to the girl and her brother. On the first day of trial, the prosecutor, noting that the eight-year-old complainant was fearful about seeing Rose, asked for the court’s permission to let the girl testify behind a screen. The trial judge decided to allow this after considering testimony from the girl’s psychologist, who stated that seeing Rose in the courtroom might cause the girl to freeze up during her testimony or suffer a relapse in her therapy. While the screen prevented the girl from seeing Rose, others in the courtroom, including Rose, could see the girl while she testified. The jurors deliberated for about two hours before finding Rose guilty of four ...More

    Calendar Number: 8

    Opinions:

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  • /1//10/0

    Issue:
    ​Gail Miller is the guardian and conservator for her son, Ryan, who suffered severe and permanent injuries in a vehicle rollover accident. The vehicle was owned by Ryan’s father and insured by Citizens Insurance Company. After Citizens denied Ryan’s application for no-fault benefits in November 2007, Miller hired an attorney. On December 13, 2007, the lawyer contacted Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, where Ryan had recently begun inpatient treatment, to ask for billing information. RIM, which is owned by the Detroit Medical Center, did not prepare its bill until Ryan was discharged in January 2008; his treatment charges ultimately totaled about $150,000. DMC did not send a lien notice to Citizens in December 2007 and did not contact Citizens at that time.

    On December 17, 2 ...More

    Calendar Number: 9

    Opinions:

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  • /1//10/0

    Issue:
    ​Judge James M. Justin, who has been a judge in Jackson since 1976, was suspended from office by the Michigan Supreme Court on July 19, 2010, following a preliminary investigation by the Judicial Tenure Commission. In November 2010, the JTC charged the judge with eight counts of judicial misconduct, alleging that the judge:

    • improperly dismissed cases – including some traffic tickets against him and his wife – without the prosecution’s authorization, and entered, or caused to be entered, false information in the court’s Judicial Information System;
    • removed valid Secretary of State abstracts, interfering with the Secretary of State’s ability to collect driver responsibility fees and causing false information to be sent to the Secretary of State;
    • engaged in ex p ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 11

    Opinions: 142076-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//10/0

    Issue:
    ​This case arises from a fatal accident that occurred at night on a Royal Oak city sidewalk that was under construction. A Detroit Edison Company utility wire, also called a guy wire, was anchored in the area of the Normandy Street sidewalk construction site. The city asked Detroit Edison to move the wire but, when Detroit Edison did not do so, the city elected to proceed with construction. The city’s construction project field manager, Bryan Warju, was warned by the cement contractor, Gaglio PR Cement Corporation, about the dangers posed by having the guy wire remain above the new sidewalk. Warju instructed the contractor to barricade the area; Gaglio agreed to do so, but warned Warju that the barricades would not completely stop the public from using the pathway. The contractor posted d ...More

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions:

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  • /1//10/0

    Issue:
    ​On March 1, 2002, 48-year-old Daniel Jilek went to an urgent care center, where he was treated by Carlin Stockson, M.D., a board-certified family practice physician. In addition to complaining of persistent sinus pain, runny nose, earache, and cough, Jilek said that he had trouble breathing on exertion and that chest tightness was interfering with his ability to run. Stockson ordered a chest x-ray, which was normal. She diagnosed Jilek with sinusitis and bronchospasms, and gave him prescriptions for an antibiotic and Albuterol, a bronchodilator. The doctor discharged Jilek with instructions to follow up with an appointment in 10 days, or to go to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately if he felt worse.

    Five days later, Jilek collapsed during his workout at a fitness c ...More

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions:

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  • /1//10/0

    Issue:

    ​On September 22, 2008, Detroit Police officers arrested Lamar Evans after they saw him running away from a burning house; he was carrying a gasoline can. An arson investigator determined that a flammable liquid had been used to ignite the fire. The investigator noted that the house was vacant and lacked gas, electricity or water service. The property owner told the police that he was in the process of purchasing the house, which needed repairs, and that he and his family had moved some belongings into the house.

     

    Evans was charged with the burning of real property under MCL 750.73, which states, “Any person who wilfully or maliciously burns any building or other real property, or the contents thereof, other than those specified in the next preceding section of this ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 1

    Opinions: 141381-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /1//10/0

    Issue:
    ​While on patrol in the early morning of December 30, 2008, Holland police officer Troy DeWys observed an occupied car parked on the street; when he returned to issue a parking ticket, there was no one in the car. DeWys determined that the car was registered to Shane Adams, who had several outstanding warrants. DeWys saw a car pulling out of a driveway at a nearby home; the driver got out of his car and told DeWys that his girlfriend, and some minors, were inside drinking alcohol. Asked if Adams was in the house, the driver indicated that he was unsure.

    DeWys called for backup; a second officer arrived. Both police officers were in full police uniform. They approached the home, and knocked on the front and back doors; DeWys identified himself as a police officer. Peering throug ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 5

    Opinions: 141837-Opinion.pdf

    Click here to view the briefs.

  • /2/11/10/0

    Issue:
    ​William Smith owned a pickup truck, but did not have a driver’s license because he had too many points on his record; he could not obtain no-fault automobile insurance or license plates. Smith added his friend Sheri Harris to the truck’s title as a co-owner, and she obtained insurance from Progressive Michigan Insurance Company. But, in order to do so, she signed a form listing Smith as an excluded driver under the insurance policy, as permitted under MCL 500.3009(2).

    Some time later, Smith was driving the truck when he collided with a vehicle occupied by Scott and Andrea Mihelsic. The Mihelsics sued Smith; he failed to defend the lawsuit and the court entered a default against him. Progressive brought a declaratory judgment action, asking the court to rule that Progressive wa ...More

    Calendar Number: 6

    Opinions:

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  • /1//10/0

    Issue:
    ​Torme Findley was employed by DaimlerChrysler Corporation as an assembly line worker. On February 18, 2004, Findley fell from a motorized cart driven by her supervisor. Findley claims that, as a result of this work-related accident, she suffers from shoulder and back pain, a closed head injury, memory problems, depression and anxiety. After the accident, Findley was off work for about two months, returning to work in April 2004. She worked until August 2004, but said that she had problems doing her assigned jobs. She was then off work until August 2005 because there was no work available. When Findley returned to the job in 2005, she tripped over a cord and fell, and after that did not return to work. When DaimlerChrysler sent Findley a letter telling her to report for work, she did not ...More

    Calendar Number: Oral Argument on Application

    Opinions:

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  • /1//09/0

    Issue:
    ​On May 25, 2011, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Enrolled House Bill 4361, which became 2011 PA 38; October 1, 2011 is the earliest date when any of the act’s provisions will go into effect. The act eliminates the Michigan Business Tax and replaces it with a flat corporate income tax. PA 38 also limits the prior exemption for public pension income, depending on which of three age groups taxpayers fall into:

    • Taxpayers who will be at least 67 years old in 2012 will keep their current pension exemptions. Public pension distributions for people in this age group will remain completely tax-exempt. Private pension retirees will have capped pension exemptions of $45,120 per single filer and $90,240 for joint filers.
    • Taxpayers who will be between 60 and 66 in 2012 will ha ...More

    Orders:

    Calendar Number: 1

    Opinions: 143157-Opinion.pdf

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