Grand Traverse County fraud and misrepresentation claim dismissal upheld
Shirley Akers was swindled out of nearly a quarter-million dollars by Margaret Zimmerman, a former employee of Bankers Life and Casualty Company. Akers sued Bankers Life, alleging that it committed fraudulent concealment or intentional misrepresentation when it wrote and told Akers that Zimmerman was no longer employed by Bankers Life, but failed to reveal that Zimmerman was discharged for unethical behavior. After the discharge, Zimmerman solicited her former Bankers LIfe-client to make investments in several "ponzi"-type vehicles.
Akers could not sue for negligence because she did not bring her action within three years of Bankers Life's alleged misconduct, however, if she could prove fraud, the statute of limitations would be longer.
The Court pointed out that Bankers Life was never asked about Zimmerman's departure, and therefore had not concealed from Akers or misrepresented to her any material fact. Under long-standing law, "mere nondisclosure of facts is insufficient" to prove silent fraud.
The Court also noted that since the Engler Majority eviscerated Michigan's Consumer Protection Act by limiting it's application to totally-unregulated industries, Akers could not base her claim against Bankers Life on that statute: in Michigan, insurers are subject to some regulatory action by the state, even if Plaintiff's particular complaints were not subject to regulation.