Court parses definitions regarding whether a psychologist's affidavit confirms head injury
Shakita Crittendon's auto negligence suit against Cheryl Ann Johnson has been in limbo for several years and will remain there for several more. Crittendon's case was initially dismissed by the trial court because her proofs of "serious impairment" included an affidavit from a psychologist but did not include an affidavit from a licensed physician. On appeal, the Court of Appeals returned the case to the lower court last year, holding that confirming a head injury through the affidavit of a licensed physician is not the sole means available to establish a serious injury.After remand, the trial judge ruled that while Crittendon had established a fact question regarding a threshold injury, she had not met the Engler-era Kreiner standard of proving that the injury was "life-altering," since she "is still able to work, attend church and travel on occasion." This month, the Court of Appeals remanded the case for evaluation in accordance with the August 2010, "McCormick" interpretation of "serious impairment of a bodily function," since the latter holding returned to the original statutory interpretation and did not require that a "serious" injury be "life-altering."
Now, with the election of a new Republican majority to the Michigan Supreme Court in November of 2010, and with the elected justices having received seven-figure election support from the Chamber of Commerce and the insurance industry, it is likely that a new standard will be promulgated yet again, and that Crittendon will remain in appellate limbo for several more years.