News & Notices

From the Michigan Supreme Court February 2024

 
 

Michigan Bar Journal

 

ADM File No. 2022-42
Proposed Amendments of Rules 2.508 and 4.002 of the Michigan Court Rules

On order of the Court, this is to advise that the Court is considering amendments of Rules 2.508 and 4.002 of the Michigan Court Rules. Before determining whether the proposal should be adopted, changed before adoption, or rejected, this notice is given to afford interested persons the opportunity to comment on the form or the merits of the proposal or to suggest alternatives. The Court welcomes the views of all. This matter will also be considered at a public hearing. The notices and agendas for each public hearing are posted on the Public Administrative Hearings page.

Publication of this proposal does not mean that the Court will issue an order on the subject, nor does it imply probable adoption of the proposal in its present form.

[Additions to the text are indicated in underlining and deleted text is shown by strikeover.]

Rule 2.508 Jury Trial of Right

(A) [Unchanged.]

(B) Demand for Jury.

(1)-(2) [Unchanged.]

(3)(a) [Unchanged.]

(b) If part of a case is removed from circuit court to district court, or part of a case is removed or transferred from district court to circuit court, but a portion of the case remains in the court from which the case is removed or transferred, then a demand for a trial by jury in the court from which the case is removed or transferred is not effective in the court to which the case is removed or transferred. A party who seeks a trial by jury in the court to which the case is partially removed or transferred must file a written demand for a trial by jury and pay the applicable jury feewithin 21 days of the removal or transfer order, and must pay the jury fee provided by law, even if the jury fee was paid in the court from which the case is removed or transferred, within 28 days after the filing fee is paid in the receiving court, but no later than 56 days after the date of the removal or transfer order.

(c) The absence of a timely demand for a trial by jury in the court from which a case is entirely or partially removed or transferred does not preclude filing a demand for a trial by jury in the court to which the case is removed or transferred. A party who seeks a trial by jury in the court to which the case is removed or transferred must file a written demand for a trial by jury and pay the applicable jury fee within 28 days after the filing fee is paid in that court, but no later than 56 days after the date of the removal or transfer orderwithin 21 days of the removal or transfer order, and must pay the jury fee provided by law.

(d) [Unchanged.]

(C)-(D) [Unchanged.]

Rule 4.002 Transfer of Actions From District Court to Circuit Court

(A)-(C) [Unchanged.]

(D) Payment of Filing and Jury Fees After Transfer; Payment of Costs.

(1) [Unchanged.]

(2) If the jury fee has been paid, the clerk of the district court must forward it to the clerk of the circuit court to which the action is transferred as soon as possible after the case records have been transferred. If the amount paid to the district court for the jury fee is less than the circuit court jury fee, then the party requesting the jury shall pay the difference to the circuit court within 28 days after the filing fee is paid under subrule (D)(1).

(3) [Unchanged.]

Staff Comment (ADM File No. 2022-42): The proposed amendments of MCR 2.508(B)(3)(b)-(c) and 4.002(D)(2) would make the rules consistent with MCR 2.227 regarding the timing of payment of the jury fee in cases that are removed or transferred.

The staff comment is not an authoritative construction by the Court. In addition, adoption of a new rule or amendment in no way reflects a substantive determination by this Court.

A copy of this order will be given to the secretary of the State Bar and to the state court administrator so that they can make the notifications specified in MCR 1.201. Comments on the proposal may be submitted by April 1, 2024, by clicking on the “Comment on this Proposal” link under this proposal on the Court’s Proposed & Adopted Orders on Administrative Matters page. You may also submit a comment in writing at P.O. Box 30052, Lansing, MI 48909 or via email at ADMcomment@courts.mi.gov. When submitting a comment, please refer to ADM File No. 2022-42. Your comments and the comments of others will be posted under the chapter affected by this proposal.

ADM File No. 2022-54
Proposed Amendment of Canon 7 of the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct

On order of the Court, this is to advise that the Court is considering an amendment of Canon 7 of the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct. Before determining whether the proposal should be adopted, changed before adoption, or rejected, this notice is given to afford interested persons the opportunity to comment on the form or the merits of the proposal or to suggest alternatives. The Court welcomes the views of all. This matter will also be considered at a public hearing. The notices and agendas for each public hearing are posted on the Public Administrative Hearings page.

Publication of this proposal does not mean that the Court will issue an order on the subject, nor does it imply probable adoption of the proposal in its present form.

[Additions to the text are indicated in underlining and deleted text is shown by strikeover.]

Canon 7. A Judge or a Candidate for Judicial Office Should Refrain From Political Activity Inappropriate to Judicial Office.

A.-B. [Unchanged.]

C. Wind up of law practice.

(1) A successful elected candidate who was not an incumbent has until midnight Dec. 31 following the election to wind up the candidate’s law practice and has until June 30 following the election to resign from organizations and activities and divest interests that do not qualify under Canon 4. If a successful elected candidate has remaining funds in a trust account after June 30 following the election and the funds remain unclaimed, the candidate must promptly transfer control of the funds to the elected candidate’s interim administrator in accordance with subchapter 9.300 of the Michigan Court Rules and Rule 21 of the Rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan. The interim administrator must make reasonable efforts to locate the owner of the property and continue to hold said funds in a trust account for the required statutory period in accordance with the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, MCL 567.221 et seq. This transfer of control to the interim administrator does not create a client-lawyer relationship.

(2) Upon notice of appointment to judicial office, a candidate shall wind up the candidate’s law practice prior to taking office and has six months from the date of taking office to resign from organizations and activities and divest interests that do not qualify under Canon 4. If an appointee has remaining funds in a trust account six months after taking office and the funds remain unclaimed, the appointee must promptly transfer control of the funds to the appointed candidate’s interim administrator in accordance with subchapter 9.300 of the Michigan Court Rules and Rule 21 of the Rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan. The interim administrator must make reasonable efforts to locate the owner of the property and continue to hold said funds in a trust account for the required statutory period in accordance with the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, MCL 567.221 et seq. This transfer of control to the interim administrator does not create a client-lawyer relationship.

Staff Comment (ADM File No. 2022-54): The proposed amendment of Canon 7 would provide a procedure for handling remaining funds in an attorney’s trust account if the attorney is elected or appointed to a judicial office.

The staff comment is not an authoritative construction by the Court. In addition, adoption of a new rule or amendment in no way reflects a substantive determination by this Court.

A copy of this order will be given to the secretary of the State Bar and to the state court administrator so that they can make the notifications specified in MCR 1.201. Comments on the proposal may be submitted by April 1, 2024, by clicking on the “Comment on this Proposal” link under this proposal on the Court’s Proposed & Adopted Orders on Administrative Matters page. You may also submit a comment in writing at P.O. Box 30052, Lansing, MI 48909 or via email at ADMcomment@courts.mi.gov. When submitting a comment, please refer to ADM File No. 2022-54. Your comments and the comments of others will be posted under the chapter affected by this proposal.

ADM File No. 2023-20
Amendment of Administrative Order No. 2023-1

On order of the Court, the following amendment of Administrative Order 2023-1 is adopted, effective immediately.

[Additions to the text are indicated in underlining and deleted text is shown by strikeover.]

Administrative Order No. 2023-1 — Creation of the Commission on Well-Being in the Law

[Introduction paragraph unchanged.]

I.-III. [Unchanged.]

IV. Commission Membership

A. Membership shall be comprised of 354 members from the following individuals and groups:

1.-4. [Unchanged.]

5. Subject to appointment as provided in Section IV.B, one individual representing each of the following, as recommended by the following:

a.-f. [Unchanged.]
g. Western Michigan University Cooley Law School;
h.-k [Unchanged.]
l. the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission;.
m. the Board of Law Examiners.

6. [Unchanged.]

B.-D. [Unchanged.]

V.-VIII. [Unchanged.]

ADM File No. 2023-32
Independent Audit of the Judicial Tenure Commission

On June 13, 2023, the Judicial Tenure Commission announced its intention to undergo an “independent review of the racial composition of the judges about whom the Commission receives complaints, and the Commission’s dispositions of those complaints, for the period 2008 through 2022.” The Commission’s press release stated:

Though the Commission believes its case dispositions show no actual or deliberate racial disparity, the Commission recognizes that this is a very important issue and that the public will have more faith in the fairness of its decisions if their racial composition is reviewed by an independent auditor. Of course, if an independent auditor identifies an actual racial disparity in the Commission’s actions that we have overlooked and that is not explained by the choices made by the judges under investigation, the Commission certainly wants to know about that and understand the reasons for it.

However, under MCR 9.261, the files of the Judicial Tenure Commission are confidential and absolutely privileged from disclosure, effectively preventing an independent audit. Nonetheless, Const 1963, art 6, § 30 establishes the Judicial Tenure Commission and provides this Court with the authority to make rules to implement this constitutional provision and provide for confidentiality and privilege of its proceedings.

The Commission has requested that this Court authorize disclosure of otherwise confidential and privileged information to facilitate the independent audit.

Accordingly, to facilitate the independent audit that the Judicial Tenure Commission has committed to undertaking, this Court authorizes the Commission to disclose otherwise confidential and privileged information in its files only as necessary to complete the independent audit and subject to the following conditions:

1) Within four (4) months of the date of this order, the Judicial Tenure Commission must enter into a contract with an independent auditor to conduct a review of all requests for investigation filed between 2008 and 2022. The contract is subject to the State Court Administrator’s approval for compliance with the requirements of this order.

a. For purposes of this order, the term “independent” is defined as an entity that does not currently have active contracts or engagements with the Judicial Tenure Commission and does not receive the majority of its funding from the Judicial Tenure Commission, Michigan Supreme Court, State Court Administrative Office, or the State of Michigan.

b. For purposes of this order, the term “review” is defined as a quantitative and, if warranted, qualitative assessment of every point in the Judicial Tenure Commission’s decision-making process.

2) If feasible, the auditor must have experience conducting audits related to perceived racial disparities. If no such auditor is available, the Judicial Tenure Commission must engage a consultant who can assist an auditor without such experience.

3) The Judicial Tenure Commission must enter into a binding non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement with the selected independent auditor and any consultant engaged under paragraph 2, to ensure the confidentiality and privilege of the Commission’s records are preserved.

4) The Judicial Tenure Commission must share the results of the independent auditor’s review with the Michigan Supreme Court no later than one year from the date of this order.

ADM File No. 2023-01
Appointments to the Commission on Well-Being in the Law

On order of the Court, pursuant to Administrative Order No. 2023-1, the following individuals are appointed to the Commission on Well- Being in the Law, effective immediately.

For terms ending on Dec. 31, 2024:

  • James Brennan (on behalf of the Michigan Association of District Court Magistrates)
  • Hon. Kathleen G. Galen (on behalf of the Michigan District Judges Association)
  • Ieisha Humphrey (on behalf of University of Detroit Mercy Law School)
  • Hon. Michael L. Jaconette (on behalf of the Michigan Probate Judges Association)
  • Marla McCowan (on behalf of the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission)
  • Steven Meerschaert (law student)
  • Wendy Neeley (on behalf of the Attorney Discipline Board)
  • Cindy Rude (on behalf of the Michigan Probate and Juvenile Registers’ Association)
  • Hon. Brock A. Swartzle (on behalf of the Michigan Court of Appeals)
  • Tish Vincent (licensed mental health professional)
  • Karissa Wallace (attorney, mid-size firm)

For terms ending on Dec. 31, 2025:

  • Cynthia Bullington (on behalf of the Attorney Grievance Commission)
  • Nicole Clay (attorney, large firm)
  • Jeff Getting (on behalf of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan)
  • Hon. Andrew G. Griffin (on behalf of the Michigan Judges Association)
  • Tierney Hoffman (on behalf of Wayne State University Law School)
  • Hon. Lisa Martin (on behalf of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan)
  • Marissa Navarro (law student)
  • Katharine Smith (attorney, practicing less than five years) • Abijah Taylor (on behalf of Michigan State University College of Law)
  • Tanya Todd (on behalf of the Michigan Court Administration Association)

For terms ending on Dec. 31, 2026:

  • Hon. Monte J. Burmeister (on behalf of the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission)
  • Hon. Matthew L.M. Fletcher (on behalf of the Michigan Tribal State-Federal Judicial Form)
  • Maribeth Graff (on behalf of the Board of Law Examiners)
  • Kathy Griffin (on behalf of the Michigan Association of Circuit Court Administrators)
  • Lisa Hamameh (on behalf of the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners)
  • Linda Harrison (on behalf of the Referees Association of Michigan)
  • Ramji Kaul (on behalf of the University of Michigan Law School)
  • Sarah Kuchon (licensed mental health professional)
  • Arvin Pearlman (attorney, solo practitioner)
  • Amy Timmer (on behalf of Cooley Law School)

Pursuant to Administrative Order No 2023-1, the following individuals, or their designees, will serve by virtue of their role within their organization.

  • Supreme Court Justice Megan K. Cavanagh
  • State Court Administrator Thomas Boyd
  • State Bar of Michigan Executive Director Peter Cunningham
  • State Bar of Michigan Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program Director Molly Ranns

ADM File No. 2023-01
Appointments to the Committee on Model Civil Jury Instructions

On order of the Court, pursuant to Administrative Order No. 2001-6, the following members are reappointed to the Committee on Model Civil Jury Instructions for terms beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, and ending on Dec. 31, 2026:

  • Hon. Michael L. Jaconette (Probate Court Judge)
  • Hon. Stephen L. Borrello (Court of Appeals Judge)
  • Jennifer Salvatore (Attorney — Plaintiff)
  • Matthew Boettcher (Attorney — Defense)
  • Stefanie Reagan (Attorney — Commercial Litigator)

ADM File No. 2023-01
Appointments to the Committee on Model Criminal Jury Instructions

On order of the Court, pursuant to Administrative Order No. 2013-13, the following members are reappointed to the Committee on Model Criminal Jury Instructions for terms beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, and ending on Dec. 31, 2026.

  • Hon. K. Edward Black (Circuit Court Judge)
  • Imran Syed (Defense Attorney)
  • Michael A. Tesner (Prosecutor)
  • Michael G. Frezza (Assistant Attorney General)
  • Stephanie E. Farkas (Defense Attorney)

Additionally, the Court appoints the following members for terms beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, and ending on Dec. 31, 2026.

  • Hon. Paul E. Stutesman (Circuit Court Judge)
  • Brenda Taylor (Prosecutor)
  • Thomas Rombach (Defense Attorney)
  • Elizabeth Allen (Prosecutor)
  • Karl Numinen (Defense Attorney)

ADM File No. 2023-01
Appointments to the Foreign Language Board of Review

On order of the Court, pursuant to MCR 8.127(A), the following members are reappointed to the Foreign Language Board of Review for terms beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, and ending on Dec. 31, 2026.

  • Hon. Cylenthia LaToye Miller (circuit court judge)
  • Patricia Ceresa (prosecuting attorney)
  • Angeles Meneses (criminal defense attorney)

ADM File No. 2023-01
Appointments to the Justice For All Commission

On order of the Court, pursuant to Administrative Order No. 2021-1, the following members are reappointed to the Justice for All Commission for first full terms beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, and ending on Dec. 31, 2026:

  • Hon. Margaret Zuzich-Bakker (on behalf of Michigan Judges Association)
  • Hon. Mabel J. Mayfield (on behalf of Michigan Probate Judges Association)
  • Magistrate Carol Jackson (tribal court member)

In addition, Hon. Lisa Martin (on behalf of Michigan District Judges Association) is appointed for a term beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, and ending on Dec. 31, 2026; and Daniel Quick (State Bar of Michigan President) is appointed for a term beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, and ending on Dec. 31, 2024.

Justice Brian K. Zahra is reappointed to serve as chair and Angela Tripp is reappointed to serve as vice-chair for the two-year term beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, and ending on Dec. 31, 2025.

Pursuant to Administrative Order No 2021-1, the following individuals, or their designees, will serve by virtue of their role within their organization.

  • Supreme Court Justice Brian K. Zahra
  • State Court Administrator Thomas Boyd
  • State Bar of Michigan Executive Director Peter Cunningham
  • Michigan State Bar Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Bentley
  • Michigan Legal Help Director Angela Tripp
  • Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Director Kristen Staley

ADM File No. 2023-01
Appointments to the Michigan Judicial Council

On order of the Court, pursuant to MCR 8.128, the following members are reappointed to the Michigan Judicial Council for first full terms beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, and ending on Dec. 31, 2026:

  • Hon. Martha D. Anderson (on behalf of the Michigan Judges Association)
  • Hon. Michael L. Jaconette (on behalf of the Michigan Probate Judges Association)
  • Hon. Michelle Friedman Appel (on behalf of the Michigan District Judges Association)
  • Hon. Herman Marable Jr. (on behalf of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan)
  • Hon. Mary B. Barglind (at-large judge)
  • Lindsay Oswald (county clerk) • Marilena David (attorney)
  • Tamara Brubaker-Salcedo (member of the public)

Additionally, Tanya Todd (court administrator) is appointed to the Michigan Judicial Council for a term beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, and ending on Dec. 31, 2026.

Pursuant to MCR 8.128, the following individuals will serve by virtue of their role within their organization for as long as they hold their respective roles.

  • Supreme Court Chief Justice Elizabeth T. Clement
  • State Court Administrator Thomas Boyd
  • Court of Appeals Chief Judge Michael F. Gadola (or designee)

ADM File No. 2023-01
Assignment of Judges to the Court of Claims and Appointment of Chief Judge

On order of the Court, effective Jan. 15, 2024, Court of Appeals Judge Christopher P. Yates is assigned to sit as a judge of the Court of Claims for the remainder of a term expiring on May 1, 2025; and effective Feb. 1, 2024, Court of Appeals Judge Sima G. Patel is assigned to sit as a judge of the Court of Claims for the remainder of a term expiring on May 1, 2025.

On further order of the Court, effective immediately, Hon. Brock A. Swartzle is appointed as chief judge of the Court of Claims for a term ending on May 1, 2025.