e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 76409
Opinion Date : 10/28/2021
e-Journal Date : 11/15/2021
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Doe v. General Motors, LLC
Practice Area(s) : Employment & Labor Law Workers' Compensation
Judge(s) : Per Curiam – Murray and Riordan; Dissent - Jansen
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The intentional-tort exception to the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act (WDCA); MCL 418.131(1); Bagby v Detroit Edison Co; “Certain to occur” & “willfully disregards” requirements; Discovery; MCR 2.116(G)(5)


The court held that the trial court properly granted summary disposition for defendant-employer because plaintiffs-employee and his wife failed to show that the intentional-tort exception to the exclusive-remedy provision of MCL 418.131(1) applied. It also held that the trial court was not required to permit discovery before ruling on defendant’s motion. The employee was seriously injured while working at defendant’s manufacturing plant. He and his wife sought damages for personal injuries and loss of consortium. They alleged defendant committed an intentional tort, and thus, the WDCA did not provide the exclusive remedy for their injuries. The trial court found plaintiffs’ allegations failed to meet the requirements for the intentional-tort exception to the WDCA. On appeal, the court rejected plaintiffs’ argument that the trial court erred by granting summary disposition because their allegations met the requirements for the intentional-tort exception. It noted that, “even assuming that plaintiffs met the ‘actual knowledge’ requirement,” they did not “meet [the] ‘certain to occur’ and ‘willfully disregards’ requirements.” By his own concession, the injured employee “never witnessed the ejection of [storage] blocks before, which indicates that this was not a continuous dangerous condition. Accordingly, there was not a certainty that injury would occur to [him]. Merely showing that something has happened before is insufficient to invoke the intentional-tort exception.” In addition, “[t]here was no certainty that the storage blocks would be left in the press, would be ejected, and would cause injury to an employee. There was only the probability that it could happen, which” suggested negligence on the part of the plant supervisor “for his alleged failure to warn plaintiff . . . but fails to rise to the level of culpability required under the intentional-tort exception to the WDCA.” The court also concluded that “discovery did ‘not stand a reasonable chance of uncovering factual support’ for plaintiffs’ position, and the trial court did not err by refusing to allow it.” Affirmed.

Full PDF Opinion