Another injustice by Republican activists
In 2007, the activist conservative majority on Michigan's Supreme Court held that the family of a rape/murder victim could not avail itself of the "discovery" rule to bring an action against the parties at fault, even though the perpetrator was not identified until long after the statute of limitations had run. In most jurisdictions, the victim has additional time to act after he or she "reasonably should have discovered" the identity of the wrongdoer. The four Republican extremists on Michigan's Court refused to apply the discovery rule here, however, even though the family had no idea, during the limitation period, who was responsible for the crime.
Judge Henry Saad, who never saw an insurance defense that he didn't like, and a panel of Court of Appeals' judges relied upon the rape/murder case in throwing out a case against Ford Motor Company in Beaulier v. Ford Motor. Mr. Beaulier was attempting to hold Ford Motor responsible for contaminating his property with methane gas and piles of industrial waste. Many jurists argue that Ford's conduct in a case such as this constitutes a "continuing" trespass, which the landowner can act upon at any time--since the polluting trespass is continuing. We think that whether one addresses the issue as one of fairness or one of public policy, the "continuing tort" theory is more appropriate. It is ironic that jurists appointed by a political party that eschews litigation and a "rush to the courthouse" continues to interpret the law in an activist manner that denies any "day in court" to people who have not sued on the earliest possible date. [See the earlier blog entries addressing the restrictive interpretation this court has applied, for example requiring No fault PIP actions within one year, rather than within one year of denial, as was the law for 19 years.]