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Defendant's choice of bankruptcy venue cannot defeat victim's substantive rights

A majority of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Dow Corning's argument that by choosing a bankruptcy venue in Michigan, it had precluded Jane Stranch, a North Carolina resident, from pursuing a legal claim under North Carolina law.  Stranch sued after learning that her breast implants were likely causing a multitude of medical problems.  North Carolina allows an injury victim to sue within a certain time period after "discovering" his or her claim.  Michigan law formerly allowed a "discovery" period, but the current Republican majority of Michigan's Supreme Court has now pretty much wiped out that "discovery" extension of the statute of limitations.

Dow Corning filed for bankruptcy in Michigan and secured the transfer of Stranch's product liability claim to the Eastern District of Michigan where the bankruptcy was pending.  It then argued that Michigan's statute of limitations should be applied, and the Court agreed, summarily dismissing the claim.  The Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that the bankrupt corporation (speaking both legally and morally) could not unilaterally defeat the North Carolina resident's rights under state law, through its choice of bankruptcy venues.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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