Negligence Law Section e-Newsletter
Issue 5 Volume 2 Winter 2013

Steven Galbraith

GalbraithDark Money, Court of Claims, and Politicians

"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." Dante Alighieri

New Years greetings from your chair:

Your Council has been very busy this fall, spending significant time in Lansing trying to educate and reason with the Legislature on bills of great interest to the legal community. Mostly without success.

Since my first quarterly report, we have witnessed unbridled political power at its worst in Lansing.

COURT OF CLAIMS: In what has been described as the fastest bill to sail through Lansing, the Court of Claims bill, SB 652, came out of nowhere and was rushed into law with little input from citizens or the legal community. Gray wolf hunting was granted more hearing time than a massive reorganization of our court system. You can find this new court here.

Your Council attended multiple hearings and meetings on SB 652 and were instrumental in working on the trailer bill, HB 5156, in conjunction with other groups. We were able to influence this amendment intended to help preserve some jury trial rights. What will become of this new court remains to be seen. Stay tuned to our News Flash for breaking developments

Read Article Below

Tort Law and Contract Law—Bridging the Gap

Hal O. Carroll


In the nature of things, insurance coverage issues, and indemnity issues, most often arise in the context of tort liability, and tort attorneys are often the first responders. So it's important to remember that these two areas of law start from different places. They are governed by different principles and—what may be more important—they have different attitudes. It may be too strong to say they have different philosophies, but it comes close.

Tort law is about what is "reasonable." By design, tort law is flexible, and even the boundaries of tort law are—again by design—vague. Tort law is designed to address problems that arise from the myriad of things people do to each other. Insurance and indemnity law are subspecies of contract law. Contract law is designed to enforce specific promises; its goal is to give effect to contractual acts between consenting adults.

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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 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

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

Todd Tennis


The Michigan Legislature is halfway through the 2013-2014 session. On some fronts, issues remain in flux. No-Fault Auto Reform remains idling in the House, and efforts to grant virtual immunity to emergency room physicians is similarly stalled. In other areas, the Legislature took fast and sweeping action that made major changes to the Court of Claims and campaign finance laws. The Legislature also took steps to address the issue of accident victim solicitation at the behest of the Negligence Law Section.

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Well-Crafted Prose with a Twist: Cooney's Sketches on Legal Style
Chad Engelhardt
Goether Engelhardt, PLLC

EngelhardtA half-dozen legal writing books rest on the bookshelf in my office. All were written by nationally recognized scholars, from Garner to Wydick. A confession-- those books sit unread. Their spines are unbroken and their pages pristine. A number of judges, opposing counsel and my senior partner, having endured my writing over the years, will surely verify that fact. But, when I learned that Cooley Law School writing professor Mark Cooney had written a book, Sketches on Legal Style, I logged on to without a moment's hesitation. Why? The first reason is simple. I admire Professor Cooney's work product. I don't just mean his many articles in the Michigan Bar Journal and Trial magazine. I mean his real work product, his students. I have found that the law students with the best writing skills are often Prof. Cooney's former advanced writing students. And the students are quick to credit Prof. Cooney with a dramatic improvement in their writing. The students tell me that Prof. Cooney teaches his courses with a definite practice-oriented bent. This is not surprising given that he practiced for a decade at one of Michigan's premiere professional liability defense firms, Collins Einhorn Farrell.

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Spring Meeting 2014
May 2–5
Las Vegas
Palms Hotel

las vegas

2014 Sponsors

Bienenstock Court Reporting & Video
Lawsuit Financial Corporation
Leading Technologies, LLC
Daniel P. Makarski
Rosenfeld Insurance Agency
Judicial Resource Services PC
Law Offices of Jeanne Stempien
Legal Copy Services, Inc.
Ringler Associates

Annual Chair's AwardGalbraith and Waun

Chair Steve Galbraith presents outgoing Chair Tom Waun with a plaque recognizing him for his contributions to the Negligence Law Section and leadership of the Council.

2014 Outstanding Achievement Award


Peter L. Dunlap

The Negligence Law Section proudly confers this Outstanding Achievement Award upon Peter L. Dunlap for his distinguished service to the legal community.

Mr. Dunlap will be recognized on Thursday, August 14, 2014, at the Country Club of Lansing. 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, Court of Appeals
2011—Justice Michael Cavanagh
2012—Willam D. Booth
2013—William F. Mills
2014—Peter L. Dunlap

Encourage Members of Your Firm and Colleagues to Join!

Jennifer Grieco Grieco

Would you spend $40 per year to protect the practice of negligence law in the State of Michigan?

By joining the State Bar of Michigan's Negligence Law Section, you will be doing just that: joining the Section's efforts to stop the onslaught of legislation intent on frustrating an individual's ability to bring a negligence claim.

If you have monitored what has been happening in Lansing over the past couple of years and especially this past legislative session, you are aware of the significant increase in legislation proposed to provide immunity to those individuals and companies who may negligently injure a citizen of our great state. This has been in addition to the notorious attempts by the legislature to change Michigan's no-fault auto system and to make significant "reforms" in the area of medical malpractice.

The State Bar of Michigan is prohibited by the United States Supreme Court decision of Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 1 (1990), from using our mandatory bar dues to advocate against this onslaught of legislation which will significantly impact negligence law and the right to have these disputes litigated before a jury. However, voluntary sections of the State Bar are not prohibited from taking positions and in particular from advocating against these efforts when appropriate. As a Council representing both plaintiff and defense negligence practitioners, we advocate for fair and just administration of negligence law.

The Negligence Section has a lobbyist on retainer and through our lobbyist, the section is able to not only monitor but to advocate against and participate in the process to limit the damage to our profession by way of bills such as the Medical Malpractice Legislation proposed in 2013 and the proposed changes to the No-Fault system. In addition, we monitored, opposed, lobbied and even testified against the legislature's attempts to provide immunity to constituents with well-funded lobbying efforts in 2013.

However, we can expect more of the same with the make-up of the legislature in 2014. And, during his recent State of the State address, Governor Snyder announced his intention to spearhead changes in our No-Fault system. After having survived a tumultuous 2013, negligence practitioners can look forward to more tort legislation.

We need your help and support!

Please act NOW by completing the attached form and sending in $40 to join the Negligence Section and increase our strength and ability to monitor, oppose and advocate against such legislation in 2014 and beyond.

Thank you.
Jennifer Grieco
Membership Chair

The Medical Malpractice Legislation: SB 1110 (ER Immunity); SB 1115 (household services as noneconomic damages); SB 1116 (judgment immunity rule); SB 1117 (expert witness testifying against health professionals) and SB 1118 (amending statute of limitations for wrongful death). With respect to auto claims, the Negligence Section has actively opposed HB 4936 (significant changes to current system of First Part (PIP) Benefits as well as other legislation that would exclude classes of insureds currently eligible to receive PIP benefits and HB 5864 (the "Kreiner" bill).

For example, we opposed immunity to propane dealers (HB 4859), social service agencies (HB 5153); pharmacies who donate unused prescription drugs (HB 5089); farm markets (HB 4866); equine immunity (BH 4867); and child social welfare programs (SB 1240).

In This Issue
Message from Chair
Insurance Coverage Advisor
Legislative Update

State Bar of Michigan Negligence Council

Steven B. Galbraith
Galbraith, Delie & James PC

Jody L. Aaron
Johnson Law

Michael R. Janes
Martin, Bacon & Martin PC

Ven Johnson
Johnson Law

Thomas R. Behm
Gruel Mills Nims & Pylman LLP

Mark Bernstein
Bernstein Law Firm

James R. Bradley
Secrest Wardle

Megan Cavanagh
Garan Lucow Miller PC

Chad D. Engelhardt
Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC

Jennifer M. Grieco
Neuman Anderson PC

Phillip C. Korovesis
Butzel Long

Robert M. Raitt
Michigan Auto Law

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

Wolfgang Mueller
Olsman, Mueller, Wallace, MacKenzie

Thomas W. Waun
Waun & Parillo, PLLC

Robert J. Buchanan
Buchanan & Buchanan

Madelyne Lawry

Advertise in this publication—contact Madelyne Lawry, Advertising Information
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