Negligence & Intentional Tort

This summary also appears under Municipal

 

Issues: Negligent operation of a governmentally owned and operated motor vehicle; MCL 691.1405; Whether the plaintiff sustained a "bodily injury" under MCL 691.1405 that constituted a "serious impairment of body function" under MCL 500.3135; Wesche v. Mecosta Cnty. Rd. Comm'n; A brain injury as a bodily injury; Allen v. Bloomfield Hills Sch. Dist.; Whether plaintiff's traumatic brain injury constituted a serious impairment of body function; Hardy v. Oakland Cnty.; McCormick v. Carrier; "Objectively manifested impairment"; Jury instruction on noneconomic damages; Request for retroactive application of Hunter v. Sisco; Devillers v. Auto Club Ins. Ass'n; Motion to compel an independent medical examination (IME); MCR 2.311(A); Burris v. KAM Transp., Inc.; Striking a notice of nonparty at fault; MCL 600.2957; MCL 600.6304; MCR 2.112(K); Rule that a landowner's duty generally ends at the boundary of her premises; Stevens v. Drekich; Requirement for proof of a duty; Romain v. Frankenmuth Mut. Ins. Co.; A "proximate cause"; Ward v. Frank's Nursery & Crafts, Inc.; Whether the violation of MCL 257.652 (failure to yield the right-of-way) was excused; Zeni v. Anderson; MacDonald v. Skornia; Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: Mennare v. Ramsden

e-Journal Number: 57822

Judge(s): Per Curiam – Cavanagh, Owens, and Stephens

 

The court held that the trial court did not err in directing a verdict for the injured plaintiff (Mennare) as to whether he sustained a bodily injury under MCL 691.1405 that constituted a serious impairment of body function under MCL 500.3135. It also concluded that retroactive application of Hunter, to the extent it might otherwise apply, was inappropriate here, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the defendant-township's motion to compel an IME of plaintiff. Further, the trial court did not err in striking the township's notice of nonparty at fault, or in granting a directed verdict on the issue of liability resulting from the defendant-police officer's negligence. Thus, the court affirmed the judgment for Mennare after a jury trial. "Injury to the brain is 'bodily injury.'" Mennare presented testimony from his three medical doctors that he sustained a traumatic brain injury - a physical injury to his brain - as a result of the collision with the police vehicle. He was diagnosed with a concussion, post-concussive syndrome, and PTSD. The township did not present any testimony from a medical doctor disputing those diagnoses. Its clinical psychologist "clearly testified that he had no opinion as to whether plaintiff suffered an actual physical injury to his brain and that the issue was 'outside of my area of expertise.'" The township argued that because his CAT scan and MRI were negative, Mennare could not establish an objectively manifested impairment. However, this argument "erroneously requires that the brain injury itself - for example the concussion or microscopic shearing injuries to neurons - be visualized or confirmed in some way to meet this requirement." Consistent with McCormick, "plaintiff's impairment - his brain impairment - was evidenced by actual symptoms or conditions." The medical evidence included that he "experienced almost constant head pain, nausea, light and noise sensitivities, speech impediments, insomnia, fatigue, balance issues, and difficulties with focus, attention, and short-term memory. Thus, the physical injury to plaintiff's brain clearly affected his brain function." In denying the township's motion to compel an IME, the trial court noted "that the case had been pending for a significant period of time, the case evaluation was completed, numerous pretrial hearings had been conducted, a previous trial date was postponed on the day the trial was scheduled to commence, and the trial was scheduled for November." Under the circumstances the court could not conclude that this decision was outside the range of reasonable and principled outcomes.

 

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