Yesterday, I filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Michigan Townships Association, Oakland County, Macomb County, and Wayne County to challenge the Court of Appeals’ decision in Hannay v. Michigan Department of Transportation.
There the Court of Appeals ruled that “bodily injury” damages available against the government for injuries arising from the negligent operation of a government-owned vehicle included excess economic loss benefits (wage loss) and potential future earnings damages. The “motor vehicle exception” to the government’s suit immunity provides that the government may be liable for “bodily injury” and “property” damages, only. MCL 691.1405.
Michigan’s No-Fault Act provides that those injured as a result of the negligent operation, maintenance, use or ownership of a motor vehicle are entitled to tort damages in the form of excess economic benefits, potential future earnings, noneconomic damages, among others. These “types” of damages are sometimes called “third party benefits”. On the other hand, “first party” benefits, such as medical expenses for bodily injury, certain economic benefits subject to a statutory cap, replacement services, and attendant care services are generally paid by the insurer of the injured party.
The issue in this case is whether the government, whose liability is ostensibly restricted to “bodily injury” damages only, may also be held liable for these other types of damages that are available only under and through the provisions of the No-Fault Act. This issue is of great significance to the economic well-being of the government. It will also be an important case in light of other cases in the Court of Appeals which have held that noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, negligent infliction of emotional distress, etc., are not awardable as against the government, even though a claimant might be able to seek such damages from a third-party tortfeasor that is not a government actor under the No-Fault Act. I have written previously about these cases, Hunter v. Sisco et al. and Ex rel Hodges v. City of Dearborn, as well as the one under consideration. By the way, a motion for reconsideration is still pending in the Supreme Court in the Hunter case, which I suspect will be dealt with after the Court issues an opinion in this case.
Read the amicus brief here: 99705 sc amicus curiae br
The previous posts are here:
Supreme Court Grants to Consider Scope of Government’s Liability Under Motor Vehicle Exception to Immunity
Court of Appeals Rules Plaintiff Not Entitled to Noneconomic Damages Against Government Under Motor Vehicle Exception
Feel free to call Carson J. Tucker, Chair of the Appeals and Legal Research Group at Lacey & Jones, LLP at (248) 283-0763 if you have any questions about any of these cases. Mr. Tucker regularly participates in cases before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals on issues touching many subject-matter areas of civil litigation, including governmental immunity.
Throughout its storied history, Lacey & Jones has distinguished itself from other law firms by maintaining a robust Appeals and Legal Research Group. Effective appellate representation demands different skills than those required by litigation attorneys. Our appellate attorneys are adept at analyzing the intricacies of each case from an objective and critical perspective. From reviewing and preparing the lower court record, identifying appealable errors, and developing a strategy to raise issues that will be addressed by appellate courts, our seasoned appellate team is capable of handling the most complex appeals from the application stage to oral advocacy before the highest courts. Our research abilities and knowledge of current issues in nearly all major subject-matter areas of the law provide our clients with efficient and immediate assistance with complex and high-exposure cases. We are experienced at navigating through the Michigan Court of Appeals and Supreme Court to shepherd the appeal in the most expeditious fashion possible so that it can be reviewed and quickly ruled upon. During the last three decades alone, the Appeals and Legal Research Group at Lacey & Jones has been responsible for over 150 published decisions in the Michigan Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, including seminal decisions in workers’ compensation, governmental immunity, employment and labor law, civil rights law and insurance coverage. Because of its specialized knowledge and focus on appellate law and its recognized expertise, the Appeals and Legal Research Group at Lacey & Jones has been asked to participate as amicus curiae writing briefs for the Supreme Court or as special counsel to the Michigan Attorney General and other governmental entities in some of the most significant cases in the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. Below are some of the recent significant cases in which Lacey & Jones, LLP’s Appeals and Legal Research Group has participated.
- State Farm v. MMRMA, ___ Mich App ___ (2013), amicus curiae for Oakland County in support of MMRMA application, by Carson J. Tucker
- Hannay v MDOT, ___ Mich ___ 201_), application granted, amicus curiae to be filed for MTA, et al., by Carson J. Tucker
- Yono v. MDOT, ___ Mich ___ (201_), oral argument on application granted, amicus curiae for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne County filed by Carson J. Tucker in support of the state’s application
- Huddleston v. Trinity Health, et al., ___ Mich ___ (201_), oral argument on application granted, amicus curiae with Lawrence Garcia, Esq., for MDTC
- Ashley, LLC v Pittsfield Twp., 494 Mich 875 (2013), application granted, for Pittsfield Township by Carson J. Tucker (resolved by settlement)
- Bailey v. Schaaf, ___ Mich ___ (2013), amicus curiae for MDTC by Carson J. Tucker
- Atkins v. SMART, 492 Mich 707 (2012), oral argument on application, Court of Appeals case reversed by opinion, Carson J. Tucker
- Hagerty v Manistee, 493 Mich 933 (2013), amicus curiae for Michigan Municipal League, et al., by Carson J. Tucker
- McMurtrie v Eaton Corp, 490 Mich 976 (2011)
- Findley v DaimlerChrysler Corp., 490 Mich 928 (2011)
- Brewer v. AD.Transport Express, Inc, 486 Mich 50 (2010)
- Stokes v Chrysler, 481 Mich 266 (2008)
- Brackett v Focus Hope, Inc, 482 Mich 269 (2008)
- Rakestraw v Gen Dynamics, 469 Mich 220 (2003)
- Sington v Chrysler Corp., (2002)
Other appeal cases Carson Tucker has handled include
- Hamed v. Wayne County, et al., 490 Mich. 1 (2011), reversing Court of Appeals published opinion after being briefed and argued by Carson J. Tucker on behalf of Wayne County
- Odom v. Wayne County, et al., 482 Mich. 459 (2008), reversing Court of Appeals after being briefed and argued by Carson J. Tucker on behalf of Wayne County and Wayne County Sheriff and Deputies
- Michigan Department of Transportation v Employers Mutual Casualty Co, et al., 481Mich. 862 (2008), reversing Court of Appeals after being briefed and argued on application by Carson J. Tucker for Trucking Company and Insurer
- Nuculovic v. Hill and SMART, 287 Mich. App. 58 (2010), briefed by Carson J. Tucker for SMART
- Molnar v. Amy Allen, Oakland County Care House, et al, 359 Fed. Appx. 623 (6th Cir. 2009), affirming district court’s judgment in favor of client represented by Carson J. Tucker
- Molnar v. Amy Allen, Oakland County Care House, et al., Case No. 09-1536 (2009), successful defense of application to United States Supreme Court by Carson J. Tucker
- Wetherill v. McHugh, et al., Case No. 10-638 (2011), co-draft response on behalf of South Dakota National Guard to petition for appeal to United States Supreme Court, cert denied by Supreme Court.