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Michigan Supreme Court

At Risk
Total Judgeships: 

7 (0 vacancies)

Political Makeup: 

Non-Partisan

Location(s): 
Lansing
Caseload: 

2000

Recent Cases

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LISTEN NOWThe Freedom Files Podcast Episode 37: Shon HopwoodListen Here
decided

The Owner? The Rider? The Title Holder? Or the Driver?

Tue, 06/10/2014

Estate of Sholberg v. Truman: Sholberg died of her injuries after she hit Daniel Truman’s horse with her car. The horse had escaped its stall and had been in the middle of the road. Sholberg’s estate filed a negligence suit against Daniel, the owner of the horse, and also Robert and Marilyn Truman, the title owner of the property on which the horse stall was located and Daniel operates his farm. Robert and Marilyn have not been to the property in over a decade and do not influence or are informed of any actions of Daniel. Robert and Marilyn appealed the suit against them on the argument that they were not in physical control or possession of what happens with their property.

Decision

The Supreme Court of Michigan ruled in favor of Robert and Marilyn Truman. The Court concluded that Robert and Marilyn were in no position to affect the events that occurred with Daniel’s horse and that Daniel was the only one in the situation who had responsibility over the horse. As a result, the Court dropped the negligence case against Robert and Marilyn but affirmed the negligence claim against Daniel.

Read the full decision here
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Rules Can't be Applied Retroactively

Tue, 06/10/2014

LaFontaine Saline Inc v. Chrysler Group LLC: A new rule enforced by the 2010 Vehicle Dealer Act has changed the area radius in which you have to notify car dealerships in the area if another dealership wishes to sell the same line of vehicles. Expanding it from 6 to 9 miles, a suit was filed testing whether the rule applies retroactively to dealerships that were established before the new rule.

Decision

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the rule does not apply retroactively and therefore dealerships that currently compete with the same vehicle lines within a 9 mile radius are allowed to continue with their contracts undisturbed and unchallenged.

Read the full decision here
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When a Governor has Decider's Remorse

Tue, 06/03/2014

Makowski v. Granholm: Makowski was convicted of first degree murder but was granted a commutation for his sentence. A commutation is a lessoning of punishment and is usually conditional. The Governor approved, signed the commutation, and delivered it to the Secretary of the State. Days later, the Governor regretted her decision, revoked the commutation, destroyed all evidence of its existence, and informed Makowski of the reinstatement of his original statement. Makowski filed suit against the Governor and the Secretary on the grounds that the revocation and their acts were unconstitutional.

Decision

The Michigan Supreme Court affirmed the rulings of the lesser courts by ruling in favor of Makowski. Since the Governor officially signed the commutation, affixed the state seal on it, and delivered it to the Secretary of State, the commutation was completed, approved, and in effect. As a result, the plaintiff was granted the commutation and it cannot be revoked. The Governor and Secretary of State acted outside of their constitutional authority by issuing the revocation.

Read the full decision here