Court reverses another case that had wrongly limited non-economic damages caused by a negligent government actor
In Motley v. State of Michigan, et al., the Court of Appeals was presented with yet another case of the government arguing that it could not be held accountable for negligently caused pain, suffering, loss of mobility, or loss of enjoyment of life. Governmental entities who owned vehicles that had been negligently involved in motor vehicle injuries took the position for several years that they were immune from damage claims for any damages other than medical and wage loss. They were encouraged in this position by extremely favorable rulings from Michigan's insurance- and government-oriented Supreme Court majority, and a number of Republican activist judges had adopted their novel position.
Nevertheless, the activists went one step beyond what even the arch-conservative Court majority was willing to approve (their argument would have denied any compensation for loss of society and companionship to the family who suffered a wrongful death), and several months ago, the Supreme Court declined to accept their argument. It held that compensation statutorily-afforded to victims of governmental negligence would be interpreted in the same manner that it had been for fifty years--allowing both economic and non-economic recovery. The Court of Appeals relied on this decision in reversing an Ingham County judge's summary disposition of several plaintiffs' claims arising out of a wreck caused by Alexander Sadovskiy who was driving a car owned by the Department of Transportation when he carelessly rear-ended a vehicle on I-96.