Negligence Law Section e-Newsletter
Issue 4 Volume 3 Spring 2013

Thomas W. Waun
Waun & Parillo PLLC

Things have been relatively quiet in the beginning months of 2013, both from a legislative and judicial decisions standpoint. This is due in part to the post-election legislative changeover in the House, where much of their efforts have been focused on filling key committee leadership positions. Our Supreme Court has changed as well with the addition of Justices McCormack and Viviano. Our Section plans to be very active in working with both the legislature and the judiciary in representing our membership during the upcoming year.

The lull in legislative activity may just be the calm before the storm. The potential for several bills that affect negligence practitioners has been discussed. Proposed legislation involving both medical malpractice and no-fault will probably make the rounds again this year. Our Section will closely monitor this situation through our lobbyist Todd Tennis. Steve Galbraith, the Editor of the Negligence Newsflash will alert you to any proposed legislation as it arises.

Read Article Below

Notices of Nonparty Fault: A Primer

Beth Andrews
Garon Lucow Miller, P.C.

The enactment of tort-reform legislation in 1995 dramatically affected tort litigation involving multiple tortfeasors. It Andrewsgenerally eliminated joint liability in tort actions and created statutory provisions for the allocation of fault among all those liable for the plaintiff's injury or death, including nonparties to an action.2 By use of the word "shall," the statutes mandate that triers of fact consider and apportion fault to "all persons that contributed to the death or injury, including each plaintiff and each person released from liability under section 2925d regardless of whether the person was or could have been named as a party to the action."3 Thus, fault may now be apportioned to all plaintiffs, released tortfeasors (including settling defendants),4 persons and entities against whom the plaintiff's statute of limitation has run, persons over whom the court has no jurisdiction, persons who are deceased or insolvent or bankrupt, persons who are immune from liability, etc., without regard to whether the nonparty may now be or ever could have been actually held liable to plaintiff.

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The Michigan Association for Justice in cooperation with The Michigan Defense Trial Counsel offer their membership and the public this first time opportunity to purchase: Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law in Michigan 2011 Edition

Can a Tort Plaintiff Commence a Declaratory Judgment Action?

Hal O. Carroll

Here's a question that doesn't come up often, but can be confusing when it does. The tort claimant sues the tort defendant, who is insured. The tort defendant's insurer declines coverage or asserts a reservation of rights. The defendant-insured does nothing to contest the insurer's position. Maybe the defendant-insured is judgment proof or just doesn't care. The insurer does not file a declaratory judgment action either, so the denial of coverage goes unchallenged. Is the tort claimant out of luck? Can he or she sue all by himself?

The answer is no, the tort claimant is not out of luck. He can bring the declaratory action on his own initiative because he is an interested party.

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Hal Carroll is a founder and the first chair of the Insurance and Indemnity Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. He represents insureds and policyholders in insurance coverage disputes. He is a chapter author of Michigan Insurance Law and Practice, published by ICLE, and has lectured and written many articles in the areas of insurance coverage and indemnity. His website is and he can be reached at or (734) 645-1404.

The Council of the Negligence Law Section
of the State Bar of Michigan
has a reception on
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
Cygnus 27—Sky Room
187 Monroe NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

We look forward to sharing with you an evening
of relaxed conversation with our esteemed
colleagues of the bench and bar.

Please contact us by sending your RSVP to or call (517) 627-8700

Michigan Lawyers Weekly wants to hear about your verdicts & settlements. Please submit recent civil cases (within the past six months) where you prevailed—whether in a jury verdict or a settlement—so they may publish them. Questions about Lawyers Weekly's Verdicts and Settlements policy may be directed to the editor at (800) 678-5297 or

Legislative Update

Legislative Coming Attractions Very Familiar

Todd Tennis

The new Legislature is off and running for the 2013-14 legislative session. Last year ended in fireworks as Michigan became a Right-to-Work State, and this year began with the passage of major reforms to Michigan's laws governing BlueCross/Blue Shield. However, our focus in the last session was squarely on attempts to make major changes to Michigan's No-Fault Auto Insurance law and efforts to enact sweeping reforms to laws governing medical malpractice. While we were successful in staving off the worst of those efforts, a new legislature means new hopes for potential reformers

Read Article Below

Spring Meeting Info
Save the Date!


Cabo San Lucas, April 20-24, 2013

The Negligence Law Section is offering a package that includes:

  • Roundtrip air on Delta Airlines
  • 5 days and 4 nights at the Wonderful Barcel Los Cabos Palace
  • Hotel tax
  • Welcome Cocktail Party
  • Morning Seminar with Breakfast

2013 Sponsors as of 1/3/13

Beth Cannon Weaver
Legal Copy Services, Inc.

Lauren Bienenstock
Bienenstock Court Reporting & Video

Mark M. Bello
Lawsuit Financial Corporation

Daniel P. Makarski
Secrest, Wardle, Lynch, Hampton, Truex & Morley PC

Mark R. Vogel
Ringler Associates

Patrick Dunleavy
Dunleavy & Associates

2013 Outstanding Achievement Award

The Negligence Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan proudly confer this Outstanding Achievement Award upon William F. Mills For his distinguished service to the legal community. Mr. Mills will be recognized on Thursday August 1, 2013 at the Amway Grand Hotel. Please contact us if you are interested in attending the reception to honor him.

Prior Recipients
2008—Justice Elizabeth Weaver
2009—Attorney, Dean Robb
2010—Judge Elizabeth Gleicher, Michigan Court of Appeals
2011—Justice Michael Cavanagh
2012—Willam D. Booth
2013—William F. Mills

Applications for SBM Committees

State Bar of Michigan President-Elect Brian Einhorn invites Michigan lawyers to apply now for appointment to committees for the 2013-2014 bar year. Service on committees is voluntary and occurs through an appointment process that begins with an application that must be filed by May 3.

"State Bar members often complain about the Bar not doing enough to support lawyers or the rule of law or to improve access to justice," Einhorn said. "The Bar has 24 committees and four initiatives specifically created to help lawyers do their jobs, stress the importance of the rule of law, and make sure clients are able to obtain fair, quality representation. Instead of complaining, members should volunteer to join a committee and work to better those areas you think need improvement."

In This Issue
Message from Chair
Insurance Coverage Advisor
Legislative Update

State Bar of Michigan Negligence Council

Thomas W. Waun
Waun & Parillo PLLC

Steven B. Galbraith
Galbraith, Delie & James PC

Jody L. Aaron
McKeen & Associates PC

Michael R. Janes
Martin, Bacon & Martin PC

Thomas R. Behm
Gruel Mills Nims & Pylman LLP

Mark Bernstein
Bernstein Law Firm

James R. Bradley
Secrest Wardle

Megan Cavanagh
Garan Lucow Miller PC

Ronald F. DeNardis
DeNardis & Miller PC

Jennifer M. Grieco
Neuman Anderson PC

Ven Johnson
Johnson Law

Anne L. Randall
Portnoy & Roth PC

Robert M. Raitt
Michigan Auto Law

Michael J. Sullivan
Collins, Einhorn, Farrell & Ulanoff PC

Paul J. Manion
Rutledge, Manion, Rabaut, Terry & Thomas PC

Brian D. Einhorn
Collins, Einhorn, Farrell & Ulanoff PC

Todd N. Tennis, Lansing

Anne L. Randall
Michael J. Sullivan

Madelyne Lawry

Advertise in this publication—contact Madelyne Lawry, Advertising Information
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