Court holds that under Michigan law, governments are immune from claims of intentional, fraudulent conduct
The Drain Commissioner and other governmental units, including the Village of Goodrich, sued Genesee County after they discovered that it had accepted group health premium rebates and applied them to the County general budget, rather than using them to reduce premiums. Several smaller units of government had contracted with the County to administer their employees' health plans, and they argued that the County had defrauded them by misapplying the premium rebates.
The Court of Appeals, speaking through arch-conservative activist Henry Saad, ruled that the County could get away with it, because Michigan doesn't allow intentional tort claims against a governmental unit or actor. The small governmental units had argued that tortious conduct "cannot be a governmental function," but Saad held that, indeed it can--even though the origin of governmental immunity was rooted in the "antiquated notion that the 'sovereign can do no wrong.' " Saad fears that taxpayers would pay too high a price if they had to make right the tortious behavior of governments: better, in his mind, if the victims bear that price. We wonder what he'd say if his family were the victim.