Court dismisses injury victims' case against State of Michigan because their attorney signed Notice of claim
Following up on the Michigan Supreme Court's recent ruling, this week the Court of Appeals reversed the trial judge and summarily dismissed the injury action filed by a UP couple who were hurt in a car accident. The at-fault car was owned by the State of Michigan; so in order to sue, the couple was required to give statutory notice of their claim to the State. They did this, but the Notice was signed by their lawyer, not by them.
The State sought summary disposition of the claim, but the Circuit Judge rejected the State's motion, finding that the couple was in "substantial compliance" and that the State was not prejudiced by the lawyer signing the notice. Less than a month ago, the Supreme Court--dominated by "defense"-oriented Justices--held in a different case that absolutely no flaw in the statutory notice will be overlooked. The Republican majority has now overturned several decades of case law that emphasized interpreting the immunity statute to achieve a just result rather than "hyper-technicality."
Noting the recent ruling, the Court of Appeals in St. Onge v. State of Michigan, ruled that the injured couple's claims must be thrown out for non-compliance with the governing statute--even though they made a good faith effort to inform the state of their claim and even though the state suffered no prejudice as a result of their attorney signing the notice on their behalf.