Michigan Supreme Court reverses lower Court; summarily dismisses Whistleblower case
Todd Fuhr was fired by Trinity Health Corporation from his position as Surgical Services Informatics Manager. He argued that his termination resulted from his reporting to the US Attorney his suspicions about overbilling. He filed a Whistleblower Protection Act claim. The Hospital claimed he was "on his way out" even before he made the call to the District Attorney.
The Court of Appeals held that it was a question of fact for the jury to decide whether his claim was accurate or whether he was fired, as the hospital maintained, because he could not get along with his co-workers. The Michigan Supreme Court reversed and dismissed his case this month. It agreed with the assessment by Judge Hoekstra that "where opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record" the Court is free to conclude that no reasonable jury would accept that account of the incident and the claim can be summarily adjudicated.
So, in accordance with Republican judicial activism, the judges may substitute their judgment for that of the jury, even where there is contradictory evidence. Up until the past decade, the Constitutional right to a jury was held to take precedence over what judges might decide a jury could believe. That Constitutional right to jury trial is now subordinated to a judge's authority, if a judge believes that he can accurately predict the outcome. (And with strong political leanings, many judges are very eager to dictate outcomes.)