Court of Appeals rules lower court must re-evaluate right to jury trial, but that litigant owes no duty to confirm that court clerk properly filed documents
Bellevue Ventures, Inc. sued Morang-Kelly Investment in a contract dispute. Although the Defendants could prove that they properly filed their pleadings with the Circuit Court Clerk's office, the documents could not be located within the court file. On that basis, the lower court ruled that the Defendants were properly defaulted because they had not met their duty to assure that the documents made their way into the Court file under MCR2.107(G). After losing a bench trial, the Defendants appealed.
The Court of Appeals ruled that the by providing proof of filing the subject documents, complete with a received stamp from the court clerk's office, the Defendants had met their duty under the Court Rule. Therefore the defendants could not be penalized for whatever negligence interrupted the course of the documents from the clerk's office to the court file. The case needed to be returned to the lower court, in any event, to evaluate whether a proper jury demand was ever filed and whether the jury fee was timely paid.