Articles Posted in Michigan Supreme Court

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Nancy Mick, as personal representative of the estate of Stephen Bradley, sought to have the Kent County Sheriff's Department held in contempt of court. She obtained an order from the probate court to take Stephen Bradley into custody for a psychiatric evaluation. The sheriff's department did not arrive, and Mr. Bradley shot and killed himself. Mick originally filed a wrongful-death action against the sheriff's department, but the department was granted governmental immunity from suit. Mick then filed her contempt action, arguing the estate of Mr. Bradley suffered damages as a result of the sheriff department's failure to show. The department again moved for dismissal on immunity grounds, but the probate court denied that motion. The department then appealed the probate court's decision at circuit court, which reversed. The Court of Appeals reversed the circuit court, finding that the governmental tort liability act (GTLA) did not apply in this case. The department appealed to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the Supreme Court the department was entitled to dismissal on an immunity basis, and reversed the Court of Appeals. View "In re Bradley Estate" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Pamela Mattison, gave birth to twins who were conceived by artificial insemination after their father, Jeffery Mattison, had died. She sought social security survivors' benefits for the children based on Jeffery's earnings. The Social Security Administration denied her application, and an administrative law judge affirmed that decision. Plaintiff then filed an action in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan challenging the decision. That court has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to rule on whether the children could inherit from Jeffery under Michigan intestacy law. Having heard oral argument, the Supreme Court granted the district court's request to answer the question and held that under Michigan intestacy law, plaintiff's children could not inherit from Jeffery. The matter was returned to the district court for further proceedings. View "In re Mattison v. Social Security Comm." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-Appellee Candice Johnson suffered a lost pregnancy at 20 weeks’ gestation, and on behalf of herself and the deceased fetus, Baby Johnson, sued Defendant-Appellant Rajan Pastoriza, M.D. and his professional corporation alleging negligence. Defendant moved for summary judgment; the circuit court refused to grant the motion, but ordered Plaintiff to appoint a personal representative for the estate of the baby and to amend the complaint to bring the negligence claim that had been brought on behalf of the baby through Michigan's wrongful-death statute. Defendant appealed. The appellate court held that the wrongful-death statute as amended in 2005, applied retroactively to Plaintiff's claim for wrongful death. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that the 2005 amendment to the wrongful-death statute did not apply to claims arising before the effective date of the amendment. Further, because Defendant would be subjected to liability that did not exist at the time the cause of action arose, the amendment was not remedial, and therefore could not be deemed retroactive. The case was remanded to the circuit court for entry of summary judgment in favor of Denfendant on the wrongful-death claim. View "Johnson v. Pastoriza" on Justia Law