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Another party denied justice by Engler Majority's decision eliminated "continuing wrong" statute of limitations.

For decades, Michigan did not allow the statute of limitations to run if a wrong-doer continued engaging in the same wrongful conduct.  This policy encouraged victims to be patient in responding to negligence and nuisance and to seek out non-litigious solutions and negotiated settlements.  Several years ago, however, the insurance-friendly majority of the Michigan Supreme Court handed down a ruling completely wiping out the "continuing wrong" doctrine.  Under the reactionary approach of the Engler justices, the statute of limitations would run from the first day of any trespass or tort, and regardless of how many times it was repeated, the victim would have no recourse after the statute of limitations was applied to that first transgression.

Under the revised doctrine--which is pretty much unique in U.S. law, since most jurisdictions continue to follow the "continuing wrong" doctrine--the family of a murdered young girl was not allowed to sue the parties at fault after the perpetrator was subsequent to the running of the statute of limitations.  Where a doctor continues to fail to examine a breast lump or continues with an improper dosage of medication, the statute runs from the first date of mis-treatment--regardless of when the patient of how recently the error was repeated.  In this week's case, Marks v. Harvey and Carol Hulstrom, the revised, insurance-friendly doctrine was applied to prevent Marvin Marks from suing his neighbors to require them to remove the junk cars and trailers from their property.  Since Marks didn't sue within the first three years of the Hulstrum's creation of a "private nuisance," his suit was barred forever.  Seem like sound public policy to anyone other than an insurer?
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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