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A man was injured when his truck was struck from behind by a police cruiser driven by the defendant, an employee of Charter Township of Genesee. The plaintiff had been attempting to make a left turn and apparently was using his turn signal when the defendant, who had been following him, attempted to pass him on the left. The defendant moved for summary disposition, arguing that the plaintiff did not sustain a serious impairment of a body function that affected his general ability to live his normal life and that their conduct did not amount to gross negligence. The trial court granted the motion. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding the trial court’s conclusion that the defendant was not grossly negligent to be unconvincing.

car accident

Pursuant to MCL 691.1407(2), the defendant would be immune from tort liability unless his conduct “amount[ed] to gross negligence that [was] the proximate cause of the injury or damage.” He claimed that he believed the plaintiff was pulling off the road to the right, whereas the plaintiff claimed he had properly activated his left turn signal. Given the critical question of fact, the appeals court could not “conceive of how defendants ha[d] the chutzpah” to contend that the defendant’s conduct was anything but so blatantly reckless as to demonstrate a substantial lack of concern for whether an injury would result.

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The Michigan Court of Appeals recently reversed a trial court’s denial of summary disposition for a defendant dog owner, reasoning the defendant did not breach a duty of care owed to the plaintiff Fed Ex employee.


In August 2012, the defendant was reading in his back yard with his dog, who was leashed on a cable that was anchored to the garage. The dog, who was part chow and part pit bull, had a tendency to bark at strangers, but she had never bitten or attacked anyone. The defendant had never received any complaints about her from his neighbors, nor had animal control been called regarding her.

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The Michigan Court of Appeals recently held that the lower court erroneously granted summary judgment to the defendants following the plaintiff’s fall at the defendants’ home, reasoning that the conflicting evidence regarding whether the dangerous condition was open and obvious should be sent to a jury.


One evening in December 2013, the plaintiff attended a dinner party at the defendants’ home. The home includes a hallway that leads from the front door to the living room and dining room area. There are two rooms on each side of the hallway, a bathroom and a mud room. There is an approximately eight-inch drop-off as one steps into the mud room from the hallway. The plaintiff went to put her purse in the mud room and fell upon entry as a result of the drop-off. She was injured and filed suit. The defendants moved for summary disposition, arguing that the drop-off was open and obvious, and therefore, they had no duty to warn the plaintiff of its existence. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion. The plaintiff appealed.

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The Michigan Court of Appeals recently affirmed the jury’s verdict that a defendant doctor was not professionally negligent in a medical malpractice action.

operating room

Plaintiffs Irwin H. Estrine, D.O., and his wife, Seema Estrine, alleged that defendant Dr. Singer committed malpractice related to Irwin’s spinal surgery. Dr. Singer performed a tubular dilation microdiscectomy on Irwin in April 2010. Immediately following the surgery, Irwin began experiencing intense pain. He alleged that his complaints of pain continued for several days and that Dr. Singer ultimately ordered an MRI late on the third day.

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Shortly before attempting to hang herself at Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, 25-year-old inmate Janika Edmond asked prison guards for a suicide prevention vest, a restrictive smock with Velcro used to prevent someone from being able to hurt themselves. State corrections officers Dianna Callahan and Kory Moore ignored her plea for help.


Instead, the officers began talking between themselves about a bet they had placed on when Edmond would ask for a vest. Callahan won the bet, so she began taunting Moore about how she now owed her a Subway sandwich. Callahan can be heard on security video at the prison, shouting “Somebody owes me lunch.”

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Kristy Bastine, a Westland police officer, sued the city of Dearborn Heights, the city of Southfield, and Dearborn Heights Police Officer Tim Ciochon after being injured while participating in SWAT training in 2012. In a recent decision, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s grant of summary disposition to the defendants, reasoning that the statutory firefighter rule barred the plaintiffs’ claims.

SWAT team

In 2012, Kristy became a member of Westland’s SWAT team. During the subsequent SWAT training, the trainees were told to quickly get into a general purpose vehicle (GPV), a heavy-duty assault vehicle driven by Ciochon. Kristy testified that when she entered the vehicle, she looked for a seat belt but could not find one. Although the testimony of the witnesses varied, the evidence indicated that shortly before returning to the starting point, the GPV hit an object, probably a tree stump. The impact caused Kristy to fly off her seat, hit the roof with the back of her helmet, fall forward, and hit her chin and teeth on something inside the GPV. She was later diagnosed with a spinal fracture and traumatic brain injury.

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In April 2014, plaintiff David Alvarez plummeted from a rock climbing wall at LifeTime Fitness Center in Novi, Michigan. Alvarez had taken his family to the center. Neither his wife nor daughter had climbed before, and everyone signed a waiver releasing Lifetime from liability for negligence. Alvarez fell from the climbing wall because his harness was on backwards and was hooked incorrectly to the belay system. Shortly thereafter, he filed suit in Oakland County Circuit Court.


Alvarez suffered numerous injuries to his legs and back during the fall. In the lawsuit, he argued that the LifeTime employee was “grossly negligent” in failing to determine whether Alvarez had correctly fastened his harness and belay system before instructing Alvarez to climb. Once he had reached the top of the wall, Alvarez asked the employee how to get down and was told: “just let go.” After letting go, the harness failed and Alvarez fell to the ground, seriously injuring himself.

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Plaintiff Robert Florian suffered a severe leg injury while working as a logger. A magistrate determined that he was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits because he suffered a disability in the course of his employment. Rather than considering whether the magistrate’s decision was supported by the evidence, the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (MCAC) employed de novo review and reversed the magistrate’s award of benefits beyond March 2010. The Michigan Appeals Court held that despite the court’s use of an incorrect standard, the MCAC correctly determined that Florian was an employee rather than an independent contractor and affirmed on that issue.


The appeals court, however, reversed the portion of the MCAC’s opinion concluding that Florian failed to establish a prima facie case of disability under relevant case law. The appeals court also reversed the MCAC’s ruling that limited Florian’s benefits. However, the MCAC aptly determined that remand to the magistrate for the recalculation of Florian’s applicable wage was required. As a result, the appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded to the magistrate for further proceedings.

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The Michigan Court of Appeals for the First District recently reversed a trial court’s denial of a defendant city’s motion for summary judgment following a plaintiff’s fall on city pavement. The appeals court found the trial court’s decision ran contrary to binding precedent regarding the Governmental Tort Liability Act (GTLA).sidewalk

Plaintiff Kathrine Curtis tripped and fell, injuring her ankle, after a misstep on a tree grate in the middle of a sidewalk that ran alongside a parking lot owned by the defendant (the city of Charlevoix). Both the parking lot and the sidewalk ran perpendicular to and connected with two parallel city streets.

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A Michigan appellate court recently upheld a trial court’s grant of summary judgment for the defendants in a high school sports injury case, reasoning the plaintiff did not provide sufficient evidence of gross negligence and proximate cause. baseball

The injury occurred at Avondale High School in February 2011. Plaintiff Ian Raber and a fellow high school student were playing catch with a baseball during gym, when a baseball nicked the edge of Raber’s glove and collided with his unprotected chest. Raber began to make convulsive, jerking motions before collapsing on the floor. Some of the other students ran from the gym to locate defendant Kourtney Thompson, a baseball coach and social studies teacher who was tasked with overseeing the gym. Kourtney had left the students unsupervised to use the restroom and visit his classroom. Thompson ran back to the gym, determined that the plaintiff was still breathing, and called 911. Observing some jerking motions, Thompson concluded that the plaintiff might have been suffering from a seizure. He cleared the area around the plaintiff to wait for paramedics to arrive. He did not check the plaintiff’s breathing or pulse again, although the plaintiff’s face and lips were turning gray or blue. He did not perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or attempt to employ an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

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