Defendant not bound by the language in a document its agent failed to read before signing
Christopher Evans filed a lawsuit against the Grosse Pointe Public School System. A Romeo District Court officer served the suit papers on the executive assistant to the school's superintendent, who acknowledged service of the summons and complaint, in writing. Later the Defendant alleged it was served with only the complaint and not a summons, and sought summary disposition of Evans' lawsuit.
In support of the school district's motion, the executive assistant argued that while she had acknowledged, in writing, that she received a summons and complaint, she had never read the document she signed and in fact had not received a summons. Our courts normally make short work of a party's attempt to avoid the impact of a signed document by alleging a failure to read it. In this case, however, quite surprisingly, the Court not only allowed the assistant to dispute her written acknowledgement, it also accepted her claim that no summons was served--thus resulting in the dismissal of Evans' lawsuit. One wonders if this decision would come to the same result if it were the alleged victim/plaintiff attempting to deny his earlier written attestation.