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Product case involving Ohio parties is dismissed when Ohio law applied

Larry Mitchell was hurt a few miles south of the Michigan border while operating a waste truck.  He lived in Ohio but worked for a Michigan-based employer.  Ninety percent of his route was in Ohio, but the employer carried Michigan workers compensation coverage that paid his medical and limited wages.  Mitchell filed an Ohio injury suit that was settled with one defendant and then filed a product liability action against several other defendants in Michigan.  The Defendants asked the Court to apply Ohio's statute of repose and dismiss the Michigan lawsuit.

The Court of Appeals noted that Ohio's interest in the litigation was not merely "fortuitous."  Although Michigan no longer automatically applies the law of the jurisdiction where the injury occurred ("lex loci delicti"), a rule that was criticized as "often produc[ing] obvious rather than just results through its failure to consider the interests of other jurisdictions,"  the law of the site of injury is still a salient issue.  The court found that Ohio's significant interest in applyiing its "statute of repose" to an incident within its borders, given the substantial Ohio ties, outweighed the interest of the plaintiff and his Michigan workers compensation carrier in applying Michigan law.

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