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Providing summaries of opinions as they are released from the Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Court of Appeals (published & unpublished), and selected U.S. Sixth Circuit. Over 60,000 cases summarized to date.

 

 

Case Summary


Cases appear under the following practice areas:

  • Administrative Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Employment & Labor Law

    e-Journal #: 73527
    Case: Barnowski v. Cleary Univ.
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam - Gadola, Gleicher, and Stephens
    Issues:

    Unemployment benefits; Judicial review of a decision by an administrative law judge (ALJ) or the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (MCAC); The Michigan Employment Security Act (MCL 421.1 et seq.); MCL 421.38(1); MCL 421.32a(1) & (2); “Good cause”; MI Admin. Code, R 421.270(1)(e); Due process; Sidun v. Wayne Cnty. Treasurer; Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co.; Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA)

    Summary:

    The court held that the trial court did not err by concluding that the decisions of both the ALJ and the MCAC denying redetermination of claimant’s unemployment benefits were supported by substantial evidence. When claimant was fired from her job, she sought unemployment benefits from Cleary (her previous part-time employer). The UIA denied her claim, listing Cleary as the “involved employer.” It then sent a second letter listing her most recent employer as the involved employer, and stating that she was fired, although still eligible for benefits. Believing she was now qualified for benefits, she took no further action. She eventually realized her error and filed a request for redetermination of her claim against Cleary. The UIA denied the request as not having been filed within the 30-day statutory period. She appealed, but the ALJ affirmed, finding she did not establish good cause for filing her protest late. The MCAC also affirmed, and the circuit court affirmed the MCAC’s decision. The court previously denied leave, but the Supreme Court remanded. On remand, the court rejected claimant’s argument that the trial court erred by concluding that the ALJ’s decision was supported by substantial evidence. She claimed she had good cause for her late appeal in light of the “unreasonableness of the UIA’s notice because it was foreseeably confusing to a layperson.” However, “the UIA’s notices were not objectively unreasonable or predictably confusing.” They were not contradictory and had unique characteristics, as they “clearly listed different case numbers and discussed different statutory provisions.” Even if she “overlooked the nuances of these identifiers, the body of each message clearly indicated that the notices pertained to different employers. Even though claimant submitted only one claim, the second notice was clearly unrelated to that claim and did not mention” Cleary. The notices “did not require advanced legal interpretation to understand, and to the extent that the messages confused claimant, the UIA provided a phone number that claimant could call if she had questions.” As such, she failed to show “good cause for her late appeal because the UIA’s notices were not unreasonable.” Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Attorneys (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Litigation

    e-Journal #: 73548
    Case: Smith v. Forrest
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam - Markey, M.J. Kelly, and Boonstra
    Issues:

    Motion for relief from judgment related to dissolution of a law firm; MCR 2.612(C)(1) & (3); Commencement of a civil action; MCR 2.101(A) & (B); Distinguishing Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. of MI v. Buckallew; Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC)

    Summary:

    Holding that the trial court erred by relying on MCR 2.612 in dismissing plaintiff-attorney’s challenge to a settlement agreement she executed with defendant-attorney (her former law partner), the court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary disposition for defendant and remanded. Plaintiff sued defendant for breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of the MRPC, claiming defendant had engaged in fraudulent, unlawful, and improper conduct in connection with the parties’ settlement agreement, which covered the dissolution of their law firm. In granting defendant summary disposition, the trial court relied predominantly on MCR 2.612. On appeal, the court agreed with plaintiff that the trial court erred by treating the settlement agreement as a “proceeding” that was subject to MCR 2.612. “[T]he plain language of MCR 2.612 contemplates a judgment, order, or proceeding arising out of or connected to an action in court. MCR 2.612(C)(1) speaks of a ‘party’ seeking relief by ‘motion,’ which clearly and unambiguously envisions circumstances in which a court took an action during litigation that one of the parties now, by motion, seeks to have set aside for one of the enumerated reasons in MCR 2.612(C)(1).” A person challenging a settlement agreement that was “reached outside of or untethered to a court proceeding or case could not simply file a ‘motion’ in court.” The court distinguished Buckallew, noting that, in this case, there was “no court involvement whatsoever with respect to the dispute between the parties, the facilitation, and the” settlement agreement.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Civil Rights (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Constitutional Law

    e-Journal #: 73560
    Case: Downard v. Martin
    Court: U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit ( Published Opinion )
    Judges: Gibbons, Suhrheinrich, and Bush
    Issues:

    Action under 42 USC § 1983 asserting deliberate indifference to serious medical needs; Johnson v. Karnes; Estelle v. Gamble; Phillips v. Roane Cnty.; Farmer v. Brennan; Comstock v. McCray; Qualified immunity; Plumhoff v. Rickard; Mitchell v. Forsyth; Ortiz v. Jordan; Johnson v. Jones; Romo v. Largen; DiLuzio v. Village of Yorkville; Pearson v. Callahan; Whether it was “obvious” that there was a “strong likelihood” the detainee would attempt suicide; Gray v. City of Detroit; Barber v. City of Salem; Galloway v. Anuszkiewicz (Unpub. 6th Cir.); Horn v. Madison Cnty. Fiscal Court; Grabow v. County of Macomb (Unpub. 6th Cir.); Baker-Schneider v. Napoleon (Unpub. 6th Cir.); Crocker ex rel. Estate of Tarzwell v. County of Macomb (Unpub. 6th Cir.)

    Summary:

    The court reversed the district court’s order denying defendants-police officers qualified immunity, concluding that the facts and inferences as found by the district court did not indicate a “strong likelihood” that the pretrial detainee (Tye) would commit suicide. Tye, an undercover police officer charged with drug trafficking, committed suicide in his cell while awaiting a preliminary hearing. Plaintiff-estate sued several police officers for deliberate indifference to Tye’s serious medical needs. The district court denied the officers’ motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. They argued that it erred by ruling that, accepting the version of facts most favorable to plaintiff, “a reasonable jury could find that they acted with deliberate indifference to Tye’s serious medical need.” Plaintiff had to establish a “sufficiently serious” need and that the officers knew about the need and disregarded or responded unreasonably to it. The court declined to consider whether there was a serious need in this case because plaintiff failed to show that it was “obvious that there was a ‘strong likelihood’” Tye would attempt suicide. The court noted that “it is not enough to establish that an official may have acted with deliberate indifference to some possibility of suicide, or even a likelihood of suicide; the test is a strong likelihood of suicide." Tye denied suicidal thoughts, was not on suicide watch, and did not have “a history of psychiatric issues.” A notation that he seemed “despondent” did not satisfy the “strong likelihood” standard. The court has previously held that “despondency following an arrest is normal and does not suggest a ‘strong likelihood’ of suicide.” As to plaintiff’s reliance on the fact Tye was a police officer, she did not cite any “case for the proposition that an inmate’s law enforcement background conveys a strong probability that he will attempt suicide[.]”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Constitutional Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Civil Rights

    e-Journal #: 73560
    Case: Downard v. Martin
    Court: U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit ( Published Opinion )
    Judges: Gibbons, Suhrheinrich, and Bush
    Issues:

    Action under 42 USC § 1983 asserting deliberate indifference to serious medical needs; Johnson v. Karnes; Estelle v. Gamble; Phillips v. Roane Cnty.; Farmer v. Brennan; Comstock v. McCray; Qualified immunity; Plumhoff v. Rickard; Mitchell v. Forsyth; Ortiz v. Jordan; Johnson v. Jones; Romo v. Largen; DiLuzio v. Village of Yorkville; Pearson v. Callahan; Whether it was “obvious” that there was a “strong likelihood” the detainee would attempt suicide; Gray v. City of Detroit; Barber v. City of Salem; Galloway v. Anuszkiewicz (Unpub. 6th Cir.); Horn v. Madison Cnty. Fiscal Court; Grabow v. County of Macomb (Unpub. 6th Cir.); Baker-Schneider v. Napoleon (Unpub. 6th Cir.); Crocker ex rel. Estate of Tarzwell v. County of Macomb (Unpub. 6th Cir.)

    Summary:

    The court reversed the district court’s order denying defendants-police officers qualified immunity, concluding that the facts and inferences as found by the district court did not indicate a “strong likelihood” that the pretrial detainee (Tye) would commit suicide. Tye, an undercover police officer charged with drug trafficking, committed suicide in his cell while awaiting a preliminary hearing. Plaintiff-estate sued several police officers for deliberate indifference to Tye’s serious medical needs. The district court denied the officers’ motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. They argued that it erred by ruling that, accepting the version of facts most favorable to plaintiff, “a reasonable jury could find that they acted with deliberate indifference to Tye’s serious medical need.” Plaintiff had to establish a “sufficiently serious” need and that the officers knew about the need and disregarded or responded unreasonably to it. The court declined to consider whether there was a serious need in this case because plaintiff failed to show that it was “obvious that there was a ‘strong likelihood’” Tye would attempt suicide. The court noted that “it is not enough to establish that an official may have acted with deliberate indifference to some possibility of suicide, or even a likelihood of suicide; the test is a strong likelihood of suicide." Tye denied suicidal thoughts, was not on suicide watch, and did not have “a history of psychiatric issues.” A notation that he seemed “despondent” did not satisfy the “strong likelihood” standard. The court has previously held that “despondency following an arrest is normal and does not suggest a ‘strong likelihood’ of suicide.” As to plaintiff’s reliance on the fact Tye was a police officer, she did not cite any “case for the proposition that an inmate’s law enforcement background conveys a strong probability that he will attempt suicide[.]”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Criminal Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 73530
    Case: People v. Sanders
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam - Markey, M.J. Kelly, and Boonstra
    Issues:

    Sufficiency of the evidence; People v. Hampton; In re Winship; People v. Hardiman; Felon in possession (FIP); People v. Bass; People v. Perkins; Felony-firearm; People v. Avant; Constructive possession; People v. Johnson; People v. Hill; People v. Burgenmeyer; Sentencing; Reasonableness & proportionality; People v. Lyons; People v. Albert; Review of a within-guidelines sentence; MCL 769.34(10); People v. Kimble; People v. Broden; Cruel & unusual punishment; People v. Brown; People v. Poole; Principle that a proportionate sentence is not cruel or unusual punishment; People v. Drohan; People v. Powell

    Summary:

    The court held that the evidence was sufficient to show that defendant possessed the gun at issue, and that his sentence was appropriate. He was convicted of FIP and felony-firearm, second offense, in this case involving the killing of the victim and burning of her body. The trial court sentenced him as a third habitual offender to 2 years and 10 months to 10 years for FIP, to be served consecutively to a 5-year term for felony-firearm. On appeal, the court rejected his argument that the evidence was insufficient to show he possessed the gun found in his vehicle, noting his “own testimony demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that he at least constructively possessed the firearm because he knew the firearm’s location and could access it.” It next declined to review his claim that his sentence for FIP was unreasonable and disproportionate because he did not allege that the trial court relied on a scoring error or inaccurate information in determining his within-guidelines sentence. In addition, because his sentence was presumptively proportionate, it was not cruel or unusual punishment. Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Employment & Labor Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Administrative Law

    e-Journal #: 73527
    Case: Barnowski v. Cleary Univ.
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam - Gadola, Gleicher, and Stephens
    Issues:

    Unemployment benefits; Judicial review of a decision by an administrative law judge (ALJ) or the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (MCAC); The Michigan Employment Security Act (MCL 421.1 et seq.); MCL 421.38(1); MCL 421.32a(1) & (2); “Good cause”; MI Admin. Code, R 421.270(1)(e); Due process; Sidun v. Wayne Cnty. Treasurer; Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co.; Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA)

    Summary:

    The court held that the trial court did not err by concluding that the decisions of both the ALJ and the MCAC denying redetermination of claimant’s unemployment benefits were supported by substantial evidence. When claimant was fired from her job, she sought unemployment benefits from Cleary (her previous part-time employer). The UIA denied her claim, listing Cleary as the “involved employer.” It then sent a second letter listing her most recent employer as the involved employer, and stating that she was fired, although still eligible for benefits. Believing she was now qualified for benefits, she took no further action. She eventually realized her error and filed a request for redetermination of her claim against Cleary. The UIA denied the request as not having been filed within the 30-day statutory period. She appealed, but the ALJ affirmed, finding she did not establish good cause for filing her protest late. The MCAC also affirmed, and the circuit court affirmed the MCAC’s decision. The court previously denied leave, but the Supreme Court remanded. On remand, the court rejected claimant’s argument that the trial court erred by concluding that the ALJ’s decision was supported by substantial evidence. She claimed she had good cause for her late appeal in light of the “unreasonableness of the UIA’s notice because it was foreseeably confusing to a layperson.” However, “the UIA’s notices were not objectively unreasonable or predictably confusing.” They were not contradictory and had unique characteristics, as they “clearly listed different case numbers and discussed different statutory provisions.” Even if she “overlooked the nuances of these identifiers, the body of each message clearly indicated that the notices pertained to different employers. Even though claimant submitted only one claim, the second notice was clearly unrelated to that claim and did not mention” Cleary. The notices “did not require advanced legal interpretation to understand, and to the extent that the messages confused claimant, the UIA provided a phone number that claimant could call if she had questions.” As such, she failed to show “good cause for her late appeal because the UIA’s notices were not unreasonable.” Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Family Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Litigation

    e-Journal #: 73524
    Case: Foster v. Foster
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam - Markey, Borrello, and Ronayne Krause
    Issues:

    Principle that state courts are deprived of subject-matter jurisdiction when principles of federal preemption are applicable; Ryan v. Brunswick Corp.; Sprietsma v. Mercury Marine; People v. Kanaan; Konynenbelt v. Flagstar Bank; Principle that an error in the exercise of a court’s subject-matter jurisdiction can be collaterally attacked; Bowie v. Arder; Workers’ Comp. Agency Dir. v. MacDonald’s Indus. Prod., Inc. (On Reconsideration); Principle that subject-matter jurisdiction cannot be granted by implied or express stipulation of the litigants; Harris v. Vernier; LLC v. Michigan Film Office

    Summary:

    On remand from the Supreme Court, the court reversed the trial court’s order requiring defendant-ex-husband, under the offset provision in the parties’ consent judgment, to make payments to plaintiff-ex-wife to cover the reduction in his retirement pay, and remanded to the trial court. In the underlying action, both the trial court and the court enforced the plain terms of the consent judgment and required defendant to reimburse plaintiff for the reduction in her interest in his retirement benefits. The Supreme Court found that federal law preempted state law such that the consent judgment was unenforceable to the extent it required defendant to reimburse plaintiff for the reduction in the amount payable to her due to his election to receive certain military disability benefits. It then remanded for the court to address the effect of its holdings on defendant’s ability to challenge the terms of the consent judgment. On remand, the court held that “defendant did not engage in an improper collateral attack on the consent judgment and the trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to enforce the consent judgment with respect to the offset provision due to the principle of federal preemption.”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Litigation (3)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Family Law

    e-Journal #: 73524
    Case: Foster v. Foster
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam - Markey, Borrello, and Ronayne Krause
    Issues:

    Principle that state courts are deprived of subject-matter jurisdiction when principles of federal preemption are applicable; Ryan v. Brunswick Corp.; Sprietsma v. Mercury Marine; People v. Kanaan; Konynenbelt v. Flagstar Bank; Principle that an error in the exercise of a court’s subject-matter jurisdiction can be collaterally attacked; Bowie v. Arder; Workers’ Comp. Agency Dir. v. MacDonald’s Indus. Prod., Inc. (On Reconsideration); Principle that subject-matter jurisdiction cannot be granted by implied or express stipulation of the litigants; Harris v. Vernier; LLC v. Michigan Film Office

    Summary:

    On remand from the Supreme Court, the court reversed the trial court’s order requiring defendant-ex-husband, under the offset provision in the parties’ consent judgment, to make payments to plaintiff-ex-wife to cover the reduction in his retirement pay, and remanded to the trial court. In the underlying action, both the trial court and the court enforced the plain terms of the consent judgment and required defendant to reimburse plaintiff for the reduction in her interest in his retirement benefits. The Supreme Court found that federal law preempted state law such that the consent judgment was unenforceable to the extent it required defendant to reimburse plaintiff for the reduction in the amount payable to her due to his election to receive certain military disability benefits. It then remanded for the court to address the effect of its holdings on defendant’s ability to challenge the terms of the consent judgment. On remand, the court held that “defendant did not engage in an improper collateral attack on the consent judgment and the trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to enforce the consent judgment with respect to the offset provision due to the principle of federal preemption.”

    Full Text Opinion

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Attorneys

    e-Journal #: 73548
    Case: Smith v. Forrest
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam - Markey, M.J. Kelly, and Boonstra
    Issues:

    Motion for relief from judgment related to dissolution of a law firm; MCR 2.612(C)(1) & (3); Commencement of a civil action; MCR 2.101(A) & (B); Distinguishing Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. of MI v. Buckallew; Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC)

    Summary:

    Holding that the trial court erred by relying on MCR 2.612 in dismissing plaintiff-attorney’s challenge to a settlement agreement she executed with defendant-attorney (her former law partner), the court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary disposition for defendant and remanded. Plaintiff sued defendant for breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of the MRPC, claiming defendant had engaged in fraudulent, unlawful, and improper conduct in connection with the parties’ settlement agreement, which covered the dissolution of their law firm. In granting defendant summary disposition, the trial court relied predominantly on MCR 2.612. On appeal, the court agreed with plaintiff that the trial court erred by treating the settlement agreement as a “proceeding” that was subject to MCR 2.612. “[T]he plain language of MCR 2.612 contemplates a judgment, order, or proceeding arising out of or connected to an action in court. MCR 2.612(C)(1) speaks of a ‘party’ seeking relief by ‘motion,’ which clearly and unambiguously envisions circumstances in which a court took an action during litigation that one of the parties now, by motion, seeks to have set aside for one of the enumerated reasons in MCR 2.612(C)(1).” A person challenging a settlement agreement that was “reached outside of or untethered to a court proceeding or case could not simply file a ‘motion’ in court.” The court distinguished Buckallew, noting that, in this case, there was “no court involvement whatsoever with respect to the dispute between the parties, the facilitation, and the” settlement agreement.

    Full Text Opinion

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 73567
    Case: In re Flint Water Cases
    Court: U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit ( Published Opinion )
    Judges: Moore, Sutton, and White; Concurrence – Sutton
    Issues:

    Denial of motion to dismiss; In re Flint Water Cases (Waid v. Snyder); Guertin v. Michigan; Brown v. Snyder (In re Flint Water Cases)

    Summary:

    [This appeal was from the ED-MI.] In this case arising from the Flint water crisis, the court reiterated its decision in Waid and affirmed the district court’s denial of defendants’ motions to dismiss. It remanded for the district court to determine whether defendant-former State Treasurer Dillon should be dismissed in light of the district court’s decision in Brown. The allegations in this case were essentially the same as those in Waid, which controlled the outcome of the motions to dismiss. In that case, the court held that the same defendants as in this case “plausibly violated plaintiffs’ substantive due-process right to bodily integrity and [were] not entitled to qualified immunity.” The Waid court also rejected the claim that two defendants should have been dismissed based on Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity. In this case, defendant-Johnson, the defendant-City’s former Utilities Director, was again accused of pressuring a Flint employee to switch the City’s water supply to the Flint River, “even though the water treatment plant was not ready[,]” and of “stonewall[ing]” attempts to investigate the issue. He argued that the outcome should not be controlled by Waid, but the court held that there was “no reason to treat Johnson any differently under the facts alleged in this case.” Addressing the concurrence, the court discussed the validity of its decision in Waid, noting that, unlike other high-ranking officials who were previously dismissed in Guertin, defendant-former Governor Snyder “was personally involved in the decision to switch Flint’s water supply, and that Snyder knew that there was no plan to update Flint’s water treatment plant to make Flint River water safe.”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Media Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Negligence & Intentional Tort

    e-Journal #: 73547
    Case: Holland v. Wood TV 8
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Borrello, Sawyer, and Servitto
    Issues:

    Defamation; Thomas M Cooley Law Sch. v. Doe 1; Sarkar v. Doe; Ireland v. Edwards; Ghanam v. Does; Tortious interference; CMI Int’l, Inc. v. Intermet Int’l Corp.; Badiee v. Brighton Area Sch.; Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED); Dalley v. Dykema Gossett; Denial of leave to amend the complaint; Futility; PT Today, Inc. v. Commissioner of the Office of Fin. & Ins. Servs.

    Summary:

    Concluding that plaintiff failed to sufficiently identify any defamatory statements by defendant-television station, the court affirmed summary disposition for defendant on his defamation claim. It also held that he failed to allege defendant committed an inherently wrongful act, or (with any specificity) affirmative acts that it committed with the motive of interfering with his business or contractual relationships. Finally, he did not describe any extreme or outrageous conduct on defendant’s part. Thus, the court also affirmed summary disposition for defendant on his tortious interference and IIED claims. It found that he did not specifically identify in his handwritten complaint any allegedly defamatory statement by defendant. While he asserted it used the word “scam” in an article (the Red Flags Article), the only time the word appeared in the complaint it was used by plaintiff in stating that his business was not a scam. Although he also “referred to a story in which he claimed that defendant made allegedly defamatory statements,” he did not identify the exact language that was allegedly defamatory and his reference to the story by itself was insufficient. As to tortious interference, he simply alleged that defendant did a story that “damaged his business. Defendant’s act of publishing a story, even if the story contained a lie, was not so inherently wrongful that it could never be justified.” Thus, he had to allege “specific and affirmative acts that defendant intentionally committed in order to interfere with plaintiff’s contractual or business relations.” He did not do so. The court also concluded that at “most, defendant’s conduct, as alleged in the complaint, was insulting and oppressive and did not give rise to an” IIED claim. Finally, it held that the trial court did not err in not allowing him to amend his complaint. Because “defendant outlined the factual basis for its statements in the Red Flags Article, the statements were not actionable under the First Amendment.” Further, given that his other two claims were based “on the same underlying facts and statements as” the defamation claim, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in “dismissing all plaintiff’s claims with prejudice and without leave to amend.”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Negligence & Intentional Tort (2)

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 73551
    Case: Graybill v. Verna's Tavern
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam - Fort Hood, Jansen, and Tukel
    Issues:

    Slip & fall on a step; Premises liability; Negligence; Finazzo v. Fire Equip. Co.; Distinction between claims arising from ordinary negligence & claims based on a condition of the land; Pugno v. Blue Harvest Farms LLC; Buhalis v. Trinity Continuing Care Servs.; Kachudas v. Invaders Self Auto Wash; Invitee status; James v. Alberts; Duty to protect an invitee; Riddle v. McLouth Steel Prods. Corp.; Bertrand v. Alan Ford, Inc.; Ahola v. Genesee Christian Sch. (Unpub.); Ragnoli v. North Oakland-N. Macomb Imaging, Inc. (Unpub.)

    Summary:

    The court held that the trial court did not err in finding defendant-tavern owner did not cause or have notice of a defective condition on its premises that caused plaintiff-patron to slip and fall. Plaintiff sued defendant for injuries she sustained when she tripped and fell on an unilluminated step on defendant’s patio. The trial court granted summary disposition for defendant, finding there was no evidence that defendant caused or was aware of the lighting condition that caused the fall. On appeal, the court rejected her argument that the trial court erred in finding defendant did not have actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition on the patio because defendant necessarily created it. It agreed with the trial court that, given “plaintiff’s injury occurred almost simultaneously with the lights on the patio going out, there was no evidence that defendant knew or had reason to know of the defective condition.” Plaintiff herself “testified that she did not know what caused the lights to go out, and while there was some testimony that a light switch was located inside the premises behind the bar, there was no testimony to suggest that the lights were knowingly switched off.” Although she provided “evidence from affiants who suggested that they overheard frequent complaints to defendant about the lighting conditions on the patio, . . . [she] explicitly testified that she was aware and could see the step that caused her to fall until the lights went out while she was walking.” As to her claim that the trial court erred by indicating she failed to actually plead that defendant caused the condition in her complaint, there were no specific allegations in her complaint “as to how defendant caused the lighting to go out, or as to why defendant should have immediately been aware of the lighting when it did go out.” Unlike Ahola, “this case involves a temporal element that suggests that defendant was unlikely to know of the lighting condition on the patio.” In addition, plaintiff overlooked the fact Ragnoli was reversed, and did not address how the case was helpful to her given this. Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Media Law

    e-Journal #: 73547
    Case: Holland v. Wood TV 8
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Borrello, Sawyer, and Servitto
    Issues:

    Defamation; Thomas M Cooley Law Sch. v. Doe 1; Sarkar v. Doe; Ireland v. Edwards; Ghanam v. Does; Tortious interference; CMI Int’l, Inc. v. Intermet Int’l Corp.; Badiee v. Brighton Area Sch.; Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED); Dalley v. Dykema Gossett; Denial of leave to amend the complaint; Futility; PT Today, Inc. v. Commissioner of the Office of Fin. & Ins. Servs.

    Summary:

    Concluding that plaintiff failed to sufficiently identify any defamatory statements by defendant-television station, the court affirmed summary disposition for defendant on his defamation claim. It also held that he failed to allege defendant committed an inherently wrongful act, or (with any specificity) affirmative acts that it committed with the motive of interfering with his business or contractual relationships. Finally, he did not describe any extreme or outrageous conduct on defendant’s part. Thus, the court also affirmed summary disposition for defendant on his tortious interference and IIED claims. It found that he did not specifically identify in his handwritten complaint any allegedly defamatory statement by defendant. While he asserted it used the word “scam” in an article (the Red Flags Article), the only time the word appeared in the complaint it was used by plaintiff in stating that his business was not a scam. Although he also “referred to a story in which he claimed that defendant made allegedly defamatory statements,” he did not identify the exact language that was allegedly defamatory and his reference to the story by itself was insufficient. As to tortious interference, he simply alleged that defendant did a story that “damaged his business. Defendant’s act of publishing a story, even if the story contained a lie, was not so inherently wrongful that it could never be justified.” Thus, he had to allege “specific and affirmative acts that defendant intentionally committed in order to interfere with plaintiff’s contractual or business relations.” He did not do so. The court also concluded that at “most, defendant’s conduct, as alleged in the complaint, was insulting and oppressive and did not give rise to an” IIED claim. Finally, it held that the trial court did not err in not allowing him to amend his complaint. Because “defendant outlined the factual basis for its statements in the Red Flags Article, the statements were not actionable under the First Amendment.” Further, given that his other two claims were based “on the same underlying facts and statements as” the defamation claim, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in “dismissing all plaintiff’s claims with prejudice and without leave to amend.”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Termination of Parental Rights (5)

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 73557
    Case: In re Derislin
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam - Borrello, Sawyer, and Servitto
    Issues:

    Termination under §§ 19b(3)(b)(i) & (ii); In re Sours; Principle that only one statutory ground must be met; In re Hudson; In re HRC; Best interests of the child; MCL 719A.19b(5); In re VanDalen; In re Kaczkowski; In re White; In re Olive/Metts Minors

    Summary:

    Holding that at least one statutory ground was met, and that termination was in the child’s best interests, the court affirmed termination of respondent-father’s parental rights. His parental rights were terminated primarily on the basis of abuse and abandonment. On appeal, the court rejected his argument that the DHHS failed to prove a statutory ground for termination. It noted that the child’s “testimony supported a finding that [he] injured and abused her, and [the case manager’s] testimony provided clear and convincing evidence that [the child] was reasonably likely to experience similar physical abuse if returned to” his care. In addition, the child’s testimony about her father’s girlfriend’s abuse supported the trial court’s determination that he “failed to protect her from physical abuse.” The court also rejected his claim that termination was not in the child’s best interests, finding the evidence supported the trial court’s best-interests findings, as well as its findings that respondent “had a history of domestic abuse with his girlfriend, that [he] failed to adequately comply with services or a treatment plan, and that [the child’s] well-being improved while she was in foster care.”

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    e-Journal #: 73556
    Case: In re Jones/Thompson
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Borrello, Sawyer, and Servitto
    Issues:

    Termination under § 19b(3)(j); “Harm”; In re Hudson; Principle that only one statutory ground is required; In re Laster; Children’s best interests; In re Moss Minors

    Summary:

    Holding that § (j) was established and that termination was in the children’s best interests, the court affirmed the order terminating respondent-mother’s parental rights. She had a CPS history dating back to 2011, and evidence showed that the DHHS provided her with many services but she “could only maintain adequate parenting skills while the services were in place. Whenever services were scaled back to give respondent the opportunity to demonstrate adequate parenting skills, she became overwhelmed and reverted back to an inability to adequately parent the children. At the time of the termination hearing, respondent still had not” shown that she could take care of all five of her children together. Clinicians testified that the youngest child had “severe sensory issues” and “moderate-to-severe behavior needs,” and that, based on time spent with respondent, she “lacked the insight required to adequately help” the child. Another child indicated to “her therapist that she did not feel like she was appropriately cared for in respondent’s home, and that there were a lot of times where she had to parent her siblings, including the necessity to supervise the other children when respondent was not ‘present mentally.’ Respondent’s therapist also testified that respondent had issues with depression, lack of motivation, and self-care, and that she had not met her goals or completed working on those issues in therapy.” Two of the children’s therapists “testified that the children would be negatively impacted if they had to remain in foster care for another year while respondent continued to work toward reunification.” The court concluded that the evidence showed her “inability or unwillingness to change her behavior had already deprived her five children of several years of having a normal home life.” Thus, the trial court did not err in in finding that a strong likelihood existed that they would be harmed if returned to her care. It also considered the appropriate factors in determining that termination was in their best interests.

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    e-Journal #: 73553
    Case: In re Ray/Grubb
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Gadola, Gleicher, and Stephens
    Issues:

    Termination under §§ 19b(3)(g) & (j); Credibility; In re Fried; Effect of the existence of one statutory ground; In re Ellis; Children’s best interests; In re Brown/Kindle/Muhammad Minors; MCL 712A.19b(5); In re White

    Summary:

    Holding that §§ (g) and (j) were established, and that termination was in the children’s best interests, the court affirmed the order terminating respondent-mother’s parental rights. It concluded that the DHHS offered “ample evidence” that she failed to provide the children (E and S) proper care and that they would be at risk of harm if returned to her home. There was evidence that S’s father (J) “posed a serious risk of harm to the children because of his severe and unresolved issues with substance abuse. Throughout” the proceedings, and even though there was “a safety plan precluding contact with” J, she continued a romantic relationship with him and lied about their contacts. While she testified in 2/19 that she finally ended their relationship, the DHHS “presented evidence that she was still engaged in a romantic relationship and seeing” J two months later. There was also testimony that she told her children to lie about both phone contacts and J’ s presence in her house. In addition, although an evaluator concluded that respondent “met the criteria for opioid dependence,” and respondent “admitted that her own substance-abuse issues ‘interfered with [her] . . . ability to properly supervise’” the children, she did not “adequately address such issues.” As to their best interests, while the children were bonded to her, they both had special needs and were in and out of placement twice during the proceedings. Further, despite S “ingesting dangerous drugs and suffering a significant burn, respondent failed to place the children’s interests above her own.” On appeal, she contended “that she ‘should have been given more time.’ However, the three years that this case remained ongoing, was as much as the children could afford.”

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    e-Journal #: 73558
    Case: In re Sanderson
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Fort Hood, Jansen, and Tukel
    Issues:

    Termination under § 19b(3)(c)(i); In re White; In re Ellis; Best interests of the children; In re Trejo Minors; In re HRC; In re Ferranti; In re Gonzales/Martinez; In re Olive/Metts Minors

    Summary:

    Holding that termination of respondent-mother’s parental rights was appropriate under § (c)(i), and it was in the children’s (JK and J) best interests, the court affirmed. The trial court terminated respondent’s parental rights under § (c)(i) because more than 182 days had elapsed since the initial dispositional order was issued and she “failed to rectify the conditions—namely respondent’s housing and ability to provide proper care and custody—that led to the adjudication.” The trial court further determined that there was no reasonable likelihood she would rectify these issues within a reasonable time. The court found no clear error in either determination. This case was initiated in 2018. “After numerous referrals and pressure from respondent’s foster-care specialist and the trial court, respondent finally obtained housing in July or August 2019.” To obtain this housing, she sought funds from donations. After obtaining housing, she failed to show “that she would be able to maintain it by providing receipts of rent or utility payments, or by verifying her employment.” Similarly, although she “initially benefited from parenting-education classes and earned unsupervised parenting time with the minor children, that parenting time was revoked after respondent began to regress. Respondent could not consistently pass drug screens, could not maintain healthy boundaries with the minor children, and could not provide the children with structure or redirection whatsoever. As respondent relapsed, she failed to consistently participate in the services offered to her.” The court noted that at the time of termination, JK was six years old and J was three years old. “These proceedings spanned more than 17 months and, besides obtaining housing, respondent made little to no progress over that period of time.” With all of that in mind, the court could not find error in the trial court’s determination “that respondent failed to rectify the conditions that led to adjudication, and that there was no reasonable likelihood that" she would be able to do so in a reasonable time.

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    e-Journal #: 73559
    Case: In re Stinson
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Markey, M.J. Kelly, and Boonstra
    Issues:

    Termination under §§ 19b(3)(b)(i), (i), & (k)(iii); Reasonable reunification efforts; MCL 712A.19a(2)(c); In re Smith; Principle that evidence of how a parent treats one child is evidence of how he or she may treat another; In re Hudson; Child’s best interests; In re Moss Minors; In re Olive/Metts Minors; In re White

    Summary:

    Holding that §§ (b)(i), (i), and (k)(iii) supported termination, and that it was in the child’s (K) best interests, the court affirmed the order terminating respondent-father’s parental rights. He argued that termination under § (i) was improper because he was not provided a case service plan or services after K’s removal. But reasonable reunification efforts “need not be made if ‘the parent has had rights to the child’s siblings involuntarily terminated and the parent has failed to rectify the conditions that led to that termination of parental rights.’” Given that respondent’s parental rights to two other children were previously terminated, he had “made no effort to rectify the conditions that led to that termination,” and the DHHS was not obligated to provide him “with services, the trial court did not clearly err by terminating respondent’s parental rights” to K under § (i). The court also held that clear and convincing evidence supported termination under §§ (b)(i) and (k)(iii) because he committed “severe child abuse” against one of K’s siblings, who suffered second- and third-degree burns. As to K’s best interests, the trial court’s analysis focused on respondent’s ability to provide K “with safety, stability, and permanence.” Regardless of whether the cause of the other child’s “injuries was deliberate abuse or negligence on respondent’s part, the record” supported its determination that K “would be at substantial risk of physical injury if returned to respondent’s care.”

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