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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summaries of opinions as they are released from the Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Court of Appeals (published & unpublished), and selected U.S. Sixth Circuit.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:

  • Courts (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Criminal Law

    e-Journal #: 76237
    Case: People v. Brown
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – M. J. Kelly and Borrello; Not participating – Fort Hood
    Issues:

    Assessment of court costs pursuant to MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii); Constitutionality of MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) on due-process & separation-of-powers grounds; People v Lewis (Unpub); People v Johnson

    Summary:

    On remand from the Michigan Supreme Court, the court found that defendant’s arguments were essentially identical to those made by the defendant in Lewis. Thus, it adopted the analysis in Lewis as its own for purposes of this case. Defendant failed to show MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) is unconstitutional on due-process or separation-of-powers grounds. The appeal arose from her “convictions of stealing, removing, retaining, or secreting another’s financial transaction device without consent,” for which she was sentenced to nine months in jail and two years’ probation. Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s instructions, the court’s “task was to address the trial court’s assessment of court costs against defendant under MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii)” in light of the court’s decision in Lewis. Like the defendant in Lewis, defendant here “raised a challenge to the constitutionality of MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) on due-process and separation-of-powers grounds in her application for leave to appeal filed in the Supreme Court. Defendant did not make any specific allegations of impartiality with respect to the trial judge in her case but instead directed her arguments at the statute’s effect on all Michigan judges.” Thus, she asserted a facial challenge, as did the defendant in Lewis. Affirmed.

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  • Criminal Law (4)

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    e-Journal #: 76242
    Case: People v. Bouie
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam - Cavanagh, K.F. Kelly, and Redford
    Issues:

    Sufficiency of the evidence; Conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder; MCL 750.157a; First-degree murder; People v Bennett; Premeditation & deliberation; People v Orr; Inferring an intent to kill from the use of a dangerous weapon; People v DeLisle; Due process; People v McGee; Ineffective assistance of counsel; People v Lane; Failure to request a bill of particulars; MCR 6.112(E); People v Harbour; Trial strategy; People v Trakhtenberg; Failure to raise a futile objection; Prejudice; People v Randolph; Jury instruction error; People v Kowalski; Right to a unanimous jury verdict; MCR 6.410(B); People v Chelmicki; Sentencing; Life without parole (LWOP); People v Jahner; Cruel & unusual punishment; People v Fernandez

    Summary:

    The court held that there was sufficient evidence to support defendant’s conviction, that he was not denied due process or the effective assistance of counsel, and that the trial court did not err in instructing the jury or in sentencing. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder and sentenced to LWOP. On appeal, the court rejected his argument that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction because there was no conspiracy to kill the person who was actually killed during the incident. “[T]here is no requirement to prove a conspiracy to kill a person who was actually killed.” And contrary to defendant’s assertion, “the identity of the person who was the intended target of the conspiracy is not an element of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.” The court also rejected his claim that he was denied his right to due process because he was not given notice of whom he allegedly conspired to murder. Again, “the identity of the person who was the target of the conspiracy is not an element of conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder. In any event, the felony information also charged defendant and his codefendant each with three counts of” AWIM. Three other victims “were identified in the felony information as the respective victims of the three assaults with intent to commit murder. Defendant was thus provided notice that he was being charged in connection with efforts to kill” them. The court next rejected his contention that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel because defense counsel did not request a bill of particulars, noting he failed “to address this point or to explain why the preliminary examination would not have provided adequate notice of the nature of the charges against him.” It further rejected his argument that the trial court erred by instructing the jury on the conspiracy charge because the jury was never instructed that the identity of the person who was the intended target of the conspiracy was an element of the offense, noting he waived this argument. Moreover, counsel was not ineffective for failing to make a meritless argument or raise a futile objection to the instructions. And because a specific unanimity instruction was not required, defense counsel was not ineffective for failing to make a futile request. Finally, the court rejected his claims that the trial court lacked authority to sentence him to LWOP, and that such a sentence constituted cruel or unusual punishment, noting the trial court was bound to impose the sentence, and defendant failed to establish it was cruel or unusual punishment. Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Courts

    e-Journal #: 76237
    Case: People v. Brown
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – M. J. Kelly and Borrello; Not participating – Fort Hood
    Issues:

    Assessment of court costs pursuant to MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii); Constitutionality of MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) on due-process & separation-of-powers grounds; People v Lewis (Unpub); People v Johnson

    Summary:

    On remand from the Michigan Supreme Court, the court found that defendant’s arguments were essentially identical to those made by the defendant in Lewis. Thus, it adopted the analysis in Lewis as its own for purposes of this case. Defendant failed to show MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) is unconstitutional on due-process or separation-of-powers grounds. The appeal arose from her “convictions of stealing, removing, retaining, or secreting another’s financial transaction device without consent,” for which she was sentenced to nine months in jail and two years’ probation. Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s instructions, the court’s “task was to address the trial court’s assessment of court costs against defendant under MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii)” in light of the court’s decision in Lewis. Like the defendant in Lewis, defendant here “raised a challenge to the constitutionality of MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) on due-process and separation-of-powers grounds in her application for leave to appeal filed in the Supreme Court. Defendant did not make any specific allegations of impartiality with respect to the trial judge in her case but instead directed her arguments at the statute’s effect on all Michigan judges.” Thus, she asserted a facial challenge, as did the defendant in Lewis. Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 76244
    Case: People v. Miller
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Boonstra, Markey, and Servitto
    Issues:

    Sufficiency of the evidence for attempted resisting & obstructing a police officer; MCL 750.81d; People v Quinn; Ineffective assistance of counsel; Failure to object; Lay witness opinion testimony; MRE 701; MRE 704; Prejudice; Prosecutorial misconduct

    Summary:

    Holding that there was sufficient evidence to support defendant’s convictions of attempted resisting and obstructing an officer, that there was no prosecutorial misconduct, and that he was not entitled to reversal based on ineffective assistance of counsel, the court affirmed his convictions. As to whether there was sufficient evidence he knew the officers “were performing their lawful duties or making an arrest” when the incident occurred, defendant “clearly had several prior contacts with the police and was, by his own admission aware that he was precluded from contacting” his ex-wife. He offered “no reason why he refused to give the police his name other than that he was at his workplace and wanted to know what was going on. He testified that he was on bond for various things at the time of the incident and ‘I just wanted to know what was going on because there was so much going through my mind.’ He also testified that he was getting irritated and ‘they were trying to do their job and I was trying to do my job and we weren’t helping each other at all.’” Thus, the court concluded that he was aware they “were performing their lawful duty. Moreover, the jury was properly instructed of the requirement for conviction that defendant knew or had reason to know the police were performing their lawful duties at the time of the resistance/obstruction.” As to his intent, he refused to respond to their questions about “his identify and refused to turn around and put his hands behind his back. According to both officers,” he pulled his hands away as they tried to handcuff him. According to one of the officers, “defendant had to be essentially forced to keep walking out to the patrol car because he wanted to walk a different route, and had to be forcibly placed in the patrol car when he kept insisting he be allowed to turn around. One does not accidently refuse to provide one’s name, refuse to walk, or refuse to get into a patrol car. And defendant was told, prior to being placed in handcuffs, that he was being placed under arrest. Thus, any actions thereafter of pulling his hands away from handcuffs, refusing to walk the way the officer was taking him, refusing to get into the car, and refusing to comply with officer instructions were knowing and intentional incidents of resisting or obstructing.”

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    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 76276
    Case: United States v. Grant
    Court: U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit ( Published Opinion )
    Judges: McKeague, Sutton, and White
    Issues:

    Sentencing; Double jeopardy; Imposition of more than one punishment for violations of two or more subdivisions of 18 USC § 922(g) based on a single firearm possession; United States v Modena (Unpub 6th Cir); Procedural reasonableness; Application of the cross-reference for attempted murder (USSG § 2A2.1(a)(2)) in calculating defendant’s base offense level

    Summary:

    For the first time in a published opinion in this circuit, the court held that it violates double jeopardy principles to impose more than one punishment for violations of two or more subdivisions of § 922(g) based on a single firearm possession. It also held that the district court did not clearly err by finding that defendant-Grant acted with specific intent to commit murder when he shot his girlfriend, and correctly applied the § 2A2.1(a)(2) cross-reference for attempted second-degree murder in calculating his offense level. Grant shot his girlfriend (B), fled the scene, and was apprehended while in possession of a gun. He pled guilty to two counts of § 922(g) for being a convicted felon unlawfully possessing a firearm and for being a domestic violence misdemeanant. Although it had reached this conclusion in an unpublished opinion (Modena), the court now held for the first time in a published opinion (joining the other circuits that have addressed the issue) that "§ 922(g) does not permit multiple punishments based on the statute’s different subdivisions for a single incident of firearm possession.” It noted that it made no difference that the two sentences were to run concurrently, and determined that a “limited remand” was appropriate for the district court to vacate Grant’s sentence on one of the § 922(g) counts and to merge the two counts of conviction. But the court otherwise affirmed, rejecting his argument that his sentence was procedurally unreasonable where the district court concluded that he intended to commit second-degree murder and then applied the cross-reference for attempted murder when calculating his USSG base offense level. To prove attempted murder in the second degree, the government had to show that the “defendant acted with a ‘specific intent to kill’” when he shot B. The government showed that Grant had threatened to shoot her earlier in the evening, and that he later aimed the gun in B's "direction and fired. This fact alone supports a finding of specific intent[.]”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Insurance (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Litigation

    e-Journal #: 76251
    Case: Auto Club Ins. Ass'n v. Farm Bureau Gen. Ins. Co. of MI
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam - Rick, Ronayne Krause, and Letica
    Issues:

    Priority dispute between insurers under the No-Fault Act; MCL 500.3114; Subrogation; Titan Ins Co v North Pointe Ins Co; The one-year limitations period for subrogation claims; MCL 500.3145(1); The six-year limitations period for other personal actions; MCL 600.5813; Partial recoupment; MCL 500.3115(2); “The person named in the policy” or “the named insured”; MCL 500.3114(1); Corwin v DaimlerChrysler Ins Co; Whether “the named insured” included “assigned drivers”; Distinguishing Cvengros v Farm Bureau Ins; Res judicata; Richards v Tibaldi

    Summary:

    The court held that the trial court erred by ruling that plaintiff-Auto Club’s complaint was untimely, but did not err by dismissing certain healthcare providers from this case. Auto Club sued defendant-Farm Bureau, as well as an assigned driver (Shamoon, who was injured in a car accident) under Auto Club’s policy, and several of her healthcare providers, claiming Farm Bureau was a higher-priority insurer and thus, solely liable for payment of Shamoon’s no-fault benefits. It sought reimbursement of all benefits it had paid. The trial court ruled that because Farm Bureau was the higher-priority insurer, plaintiff’s lawsuit was a subrogation claim subject to the one-year-back rule. It further entered an order dismissing all remaining parties, including the healthcare providers. The court agreed with Auto Club that the trial court erred by granting summary disposition on the basis that its complaint was time-barred. “Because Shamoon was an assigned driver who was injured in the specific vehicle designated in the policy declarations, plaintiff’s policy plainly provided that Shamoon is a ‘named insured’ for the present purposes. Because ‘named insured’ is ‘synonymous with’ the statutory term ‘person named in the policy,’ Shamoon was a ‘person named’ with respect to plaintiff’s policy, and the trial court erred by ruling otherwise. And because it is undisputed that she was also a ‘person named in the policy’ issued by Farm Bureau, the parties have equal priority.” As such, the MCL 500.3145(1)’s one-year limitations period “did not apply to plaintiff’s claims for reimbursement.” However, the court rejected Auto Club’s argument that the trial court improperly dismissed the healthcare providers because res judicata required it to include them in order to prevent them from relitigating the issues decided in this case. It noted that nothing about the dispute between Auto Club and Farm Bureau will resolve any dispute between Auto Club and the providers. “The healthcare providers are pursuing litigation in the district court to obtain payment for services they provided to Shamoon.” Whether they “are entitled to payment for those services is not connected to the dispute” at issue here, which concerned respective responsibilities for covering Shamoon’s benefits. “The healthcare providers have no role to play in resolving that controversy.” In fact, the apportionment issue “is not even relevant to the district court suit.” Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Litigation (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Insurance

    e-Journal #: 76251
    Case: Auto Club Ins. Ass'n v. Farm Bureau Gen. Ins. Co. of MI
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam - Rick, Ronayne Krause, and Letica
    Issues:

    Priority dispute between insurers under the No-Fault Act; MCL 500.3114; Subrogation; Titan Ins Co v North Pointe Ins Co; The one-year limitations period for subrogation claims; MCL 500.3145(1); The six-year limitations period for other personal actions; MCL 600.5813; Partial recoupment; MCL 500.3115(2); “The person named in the policy” or “the named insured”; MCL 500.3114(1); Corwin v DaimlerChrysler Ins Co; Whether “the named insured” included “assigned drivers”; Distinguishing Cvengros v Farm Bureau Ins; Res judicata; Richards v Tibaldi

    Summary:

    The court held that the trial court erred by ruling that plaintiff-Auto Club’s complaint was untimely, but did not err by dismissing certain healthcare providers from this case. Auto Club sued defendant-Farm Bureau, as well as an assigned driver (Shamoon, who was injured in a car accident) under Auto Club’s policy, and several of her healthcare providers, claiming Farm Bureau was a higher-priority insurer and thus, solely liable for payment of Shamoon’s no-fault benefits. It sought reimbursement of all benefits it had paid. The trial court ruled that because Farm Bureau was the higher-priority insurer, plaintiff’s lawsuit was a subrogation claim subject to the one-year-back rule. It further entered an order dismissing all remaining parties, including the healthcare providers. The court agreed with Auto Club that the trial court erred by granting summary disposition on the basis that its complaint was time-barred. “Because Shamoon was an assigned driver who was injured in the specific vehicle designated in the policy declarations, plaintiff’s policy plainly provided that Shamoon is a ‘named insured’ for the present purposes. Because ‘named insured’ is ‘synonymous with’ the statutory term ‘person named in the policy,’ Shamoon was a ‘person named’ with respect to plaintiff’s policy, and the trial court erred by ruling otherwise. And because it is undisputed that she was also a ‘person named in the policy’ issued by Farm Bureau, the parties have equal priority.” As such, the MCL 500.3145(1)’s one-year limitations period “did not apply to plaintiff’s claims for reimbursement.” However, the court rejected Auto Club’s argument that the trial court improperly dismissed the healthcare providers because res judicata required it to include them in order to prevent them from relitigating the issues decided in this case. It noted that nothing about the dispute between Auto Club and Farm Bureau will resolve any dispute between Auto Club and the providers. “The healthcare providers are pursuing litigation in the district court to obtain payment for services they provided to Shamoon.” Whether they “are entitled to payment for those services is not connected to the dispute” at issue here, which concerned respective responsibilities for covering Shamoon’s benefits. “The healthcare providers have no role to play in resolving that controversy.” In fact, the apportionment issue “is not even relevant to the district court suit.” Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Negligence & Intentional Tort (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Real Property

    e-Journal #: 76258
    Case: Residents of Fresh Air Park Subdivision v. Pointe Rosa Homeowners Ass'n
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Cavanagh, K.F. Kelly, and Redford
    Issues:

    Easement; Responsibility for maintaining a seawall; Fry v Kaiser; Collateral estoppel; Nuisance; Wolfenbarger v Wright; Negligence; Duty of care; Boylan v Fifty Eight, LLC; Duty to neighboring property owners

    Summary:

    Holding that the trial court erred by granting defendants’ summary disposition motion and dismissing plaintiffs’ claims for nuisance, negligence, and declaratory relief, the court reversed and remanded. Defendants are residents of a subdivision where lots abut a man-made canal, Channel 1. Plaintiffs are residents of the subdivision located on the other side of Channel 1. At issue was “the extent to which defendants are responsible for maintaining the western seawall of Channel 1, which abuts the five-foot strip along Elm Lane.” The court held that the trial court erred by “analyzing any liability for nuisance or negligence solely by focusing on the scope of defendants’ easement and any attendant rights and obligations under easement law, rather than by applying the law of nuisance and negligence to determine whether plaintiffs could prove the elements of their claims.” The court determined that because the elements of collateral estoppel were satisfied, defendants were precluded from relitigating the settled issue as to “their responsibility for maintaining the western seawall as part of their obligation to maintain the easement over Channel 1.” Next, it considered whether the responsibility for maintaining the easement could “provide a basis for establishing liability for plaintiffs’ claims of nuisance, negligence, and declaratory relief.” The court noted that the “trial court analyzed plaintiffs’ claims solely by focusing on whether any repairs or maintenance were necessary for the effective use of Channel 1 for navigational purposes.” This was flawed because the relevant inquiry was “whether defendants’ easement interest in Channel 1 can give rise to liability for nuisance or negligence for the damage to plaintiffs’ property.” The trial court observed that plaintiffs were not parties to the easement, and thus, did not have standing to enforce it. But they were “merely relying on the existence of defendants’ undisputed property interest—an easement in Channel 1—as a basis for imposing liability on defendants under theories of nuisance and negligence, given defendants’ control of the condition that allegedly is causing the damage to Elm Lane and plaintiffs’ properties.” The court held that the trial court erred by dismissing the nuisance claim based on “its conclusion that defendants’ express easement for navigational purposes precluded plaintiffs from maintaining an action for nuisance for the alleged injuries to” their property. It also erred by determining “defendants did not owe them a duty of care to support a claim for negligence.”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Real Property (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Negligence & Intentional Tort

    e-Journal #: 76258
    Case: Residents of Fresh Air Park Subdivision v. Pointe Rosa Homeowners Ass'n
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Cavanagh, K.F. Kelly, and Redford
    Issues:

    Easement; Responsibility for maintaining a seawall; Fry v Kaiser; Collateral estoppel; Nuisance; Wolfenbarger v Wright; Negligence; Duty of care; Boylan v Fifty Eight, LLC; Duty to neighboring property owners

    Summary:

    Holding that the trial court erred by granting defendants’ summary disposition motion and dismissing plaintiffs’ claims for nuisance, negligence, and declaratory relief, the court reversed and remanded. Defendants are residents of a subdivision where lots abut a man-made canal, Channel 1. Plaintiffs are residents of the subdivision located on the other side of Channel 1. At issue was “the extent to which defendants are responsible for maintaining the western seawall of Channel 1, which abuts the five-foot strip along Elm Lane.” The court held that the trial court erred by “analyzing any liability for nuisance or negligence solely by focusing on the scope of defendants’ easement and any attendant rights and obligations under easement law, rather than by applying the law of nuisance and negligence to determine whether plaintiffs could prove the elements of their claims.” The court determined that because the elements of collateral estoppel were satisfied, defendants were precluded from relitigating the settled issue as to “their responsibility for maintaining the western seawall as part of their obligation to maintain the easement over Channel 1.” Next, it considered whether the responsibility for maintaining the easement could “provide a basis for establishing liability for plaintiffs’ claims of nuisance, negligence, and declaratory relief.” The court noted that the “trial court analyzed plaintiffs’ claims solely by focusing on whether any repairs or maintenance were necessary for the effective use of Channel 1 for navigational purposes.” This was flawed because the relevant inquiry was “whether defendants’ easement interest in Channel 1 can give rise to liability for nuisance or negligence for the damage to plaintiffs’ property.” The trial court observed that plaintiffs were not parties to the easement, and thus, did not have standing to enforce it. But they were “merely relying on the existence of defendants’ undisputed property interest—an easement in Channel 1—as a basis for imposing liability on defendants under theories of nuisance and negligence, given defendants’ control of the condition that allegedly is causing the damage to Elm Lane and plaintiffs’ properties.” The court held that the trial court erred by dismissing the nuisance claim based on “its conclusion that defendants’ express easement for navigational purposes precluded plaintiffs from maintaining an action for nuisance for the alleged injuries to” their property. It also erred by determining “defendants did not owe them a duty of care to support a claim for negligence.”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Termination of Parental Rights (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 76268
    Case: In re Mims
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Beckering, Shapiro, and Swartzle
    Issues:

    Termination under §§ 19b(3)(b)(i) & (j); Motion to adjourn the termination hearing pending the outcome of respondent’s criminal trial; MCR 3.972(A); MCR 3.923(G); In re Utrera; Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination; In re Stricklin; Consideration of the children’s best interests; In re Olive/Metts Minors

    Summary:

    Rejecting respondent-father’s claim that the trial court deprived him of his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination by refusing to adjourn the termination hearing pending the outcome of his criminal trial, the court affirmed the order terminating his parental rights. He did not challenge the findings that §§ (b)(i) and (j) supported termination and that it was in the children’s best interests. Rather, he asserted that the trial court erred by not granting him another adjournment. It had previously granted multiple adjournments, but determined 18 months after the termination petition was filed that it could not continue to delay the proceedings. As his children were living with their respective mothers, “MCR 3.972(A) required the adjudication trial to occur within six months of the date the petition was filed ‘unless adjourned for good cause under MCR 3.923(G).’” Under that court rule, adjournments should only be granted “(1) for good cause, (2) after taking into consideration the best interests of the child, and (3) for as short a period of time as necessary.” The court concluded that the “trial court reasonably concluded that any gains from adjourning the termination hearing were outweighed by the children’s interest in obtaining finality and closure. And holding respondent’s termination hearing before his criminal trial did not violate [his] Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination or his due-process rights.” In Stricklin, as here, the only testimony respondents could have offered “that would have helped them would have been to deny that they sexually assaulted their children; testimony that appears nonincriminating on its face. That is the exact issue presented here. Respondent’s proposed testimony would have asserted that he did not sexually assault” one of his children not involved in this case, “or show her pornography. That testimony, if true, would not be incriminating and,” thus should not have any adverse effect on his criminal case. While it may be true, as he contended “that even nonincriminating testimony can later be characterized as incriminating[,]” this was not so here. Like the respondents in Stricklin, he “made the tactical decision not to testify at his termination hearing. The consequences of that decision are of his own making.”

    Full Text Opinion

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