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The Michigan Court of Appeals recently affirmed an order of the circuit court granting summary disposition in favor of a defendant club owner in a case involving a physical fight at the defendant’s strip club.
ball
After a fight broke out between two of the club’s dancers, a bouncer became involved in the altercation, assisting in separating the combatants and bystanders. He worked at the club as a part-time bouncer but was present in the club as a patron at the time of the altercation. The plaintiff was performing as a dancer at the time and was a bystander to the altercation. She sustained an injury to her arm, which she alleged was caused by the bouncer when he seized her and pushed her into a doorway in the process of breaking up the fight. The plaintiff based her claim against the defendant club owner on a theory of vicarious liability for the bouncer’s conduct while he was acting within the scope of his employment with the defendant. She also alleged a claim involving negligent hiring and employment.

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A plaintiff was injured when he slipped and fell on black ice while entering his car, which was parked underneath a carport at his condominium complex. He filed suit against (1) the condominium association; (2) a company that had contracted with the association approximately three years earlier to install gutters along the front side of the carport; (3) the company that actually installed the gutters pursuant to a subcontract with the contractor; and (4) the company that had contracted to provide snow and ice removal services for the condominium complex. The trial court entered separate orders granting summary disposition in favor of each defendant, pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(10). The plaintiff appealed, and the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed.

ice

On appeal, the plaintiff contended that the trial court improperly granted summary disposition in favor of the association because the ice on which he fell was not open and obvious, and the association cannot avoid liability for a condition that it created or permitted to exist because it had actual or constructive notice of such a condition.

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Over 1,700 Flint residents have filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The class action lawsuit accuses Flint officials of negligently mismanaging the city’s water crisis. The lawsuit comes just as President Trump plans to eviscerate the budget of the EPA. The plaintiff class filed suit in U.S. District Court in Michigan.

water

The water crisis originated in 2014 after the city switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River and failed to ensure that corrosion inhibitors were used to stop leaching into Flint’s pipes. The crisis has resulted in a large number of lawsuits that could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. According to experts, the only “deep pocket” near Flint is the State of Michigan. The crisis could therefore become a tax liability for Michigan citizens. According to a report published by the Senate Fiscal Agency, the state of Michigan paid roughly $41.8 million in verdicts and settlements in the last fiscal year.

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The Michigan Court of Appeals recently affirmed the lower court’s entry of a $151,093.23 judgment for a plaintiff, based on the jury’s ruling in a medical malpractice action.

dentist chair

In August 2011, a dentist extracted one of the plaintiff’s wisdom teeth. From the time of the extraction, the plaintiff experienced numbness on the left side of her tongue. When she returned to the defendant’s office, he treated her for a dry socket and advised her that her lingual nerve may have been injured during the procedure, but it would gradually recover. When the numbness continued, the plaintiff saw various other specialists, who also advised her that she most likely had a lingual nerve injury that would recover.

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A plaintiff appealed a trial court’s order granting summary disposition to a defendant fruit market after the plaintiff tripped over a landscaping tool in the defendant’s store. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s judgment.

market

The appeals court began by outlining Michigan’s premises liability law. In a premises liability action, a plaintiff must prove the elements of negligence:  (1) the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty, (2) the defendant breached that duty, (3) the breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury, and (4) the plaintiff suffered damages. Typically, a landowner owes a duty to use reasonable care to protect invitees from unreasonable risks of harm posed by dangerous conditions on the owner’s land. A landowner may be liable for breaching this duty if it is aware of a dangerous condition but fails to fix the defect, guard against the defect, or warn the invitee of the defect. However, it is well-settled that a landowner’s duty to protect does not extend to dangers that are open and obvious.

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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.

dog

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.

gavel

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.

prison

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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