Court reverses trial judge's grant of summary disposition, holds that injured woman who previously struggled with dementia was entitled to jury trial
Gloria Carlisle, age 75, sued Keith Ryan Wright and others after she was injured in a motor vehicle collision. Carlisle was diagnosed with neck and shoulder sprain but also experienced a "rapid cognitive degeneration with difficulties in concentrating, expressing herself and remembering things." She had previously been diagnosed with mild dementia, and the Defendants argued that the exacerbation of her mental difficulties did not constitute a "serious impairment of bodily function." The trial judge agreed with the defense and summarily dismissed Carlisle's legal action.
The unanimous Court of Appeals panel overturned the lower court's summary judgment against Carlyle and reinstated her claim for presentation to the jury. It pointed out that there was ample evidence to create a "genuine issue of material fact" regarding serious impairment, given the medical evidence showing that "mild cognitive impairment ...significantly exacerbated by an acutely destabilizing and traumatic neurological event in the form of cerebral concussion."