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Defamation case dismissed when suit filed too late: within one year of broadcast, but not within one year of original broadcast.

Kevin Gary sued Comcast and others after he was identified on a network broadcast as a "stalker."  Gary claimed the broadcast portrayed him in a false light and was defamatory.  He viewed the program on October 1 of 2009 and filed a lawsuit on September 30 of 2010.  The court dismissed his claim, however, on learning that the stalker segment was first broadcast on September 9 of 2009.  Even though Gary did not view that broadcast, his statute of limitations began to run on that date and had expired one year later, before his suit was filed. 

The Republicans in Michigan's judiciary have made a point of eliminating "discovery" extensions to the statute of limitations.  If a doctor fails to act on a breast lump for several visits, the statute of limitations runs from the first error and has been held to expire within two years, even if the patient had not been diagnosed and was unaware of the doctor's mistake when the limitation ran.  A claim against the employer of a young woman's murderer was dismissed on the basis of the statute of limitations, even though the young woman's family was not aware of the identity of the murderer [or the allegedly negligent employer] during the limitation period.  Where land is damaged by an illegal "continuing" trespass, the owner cannot sue for recently-caused damages if the trespass first occurred three years earlier.

This philosophy, executed to a vengeance by Republican-selected judges, is just one example of the elevation of procedural rules over just results.  Under the Republican philosophy, legal cases are a burden on commercial activity and individual injusitices do not warrant encumbering the courts, municipalities, insurers or large corporations with attempts to achieve justice.  Perhaps we should change the slogan on the front of the U.S. Supreme Court's building to read "EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL...IF IT IS CONVENIENT."

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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