Schedule a Consultation | Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Trial lawyers specializing in personal injury and civil litigation

The discovery rule

        In yet another activist repudiation of justice, the controlling majority of Michigan's Supreme Court ruled in July of 2007 that it would no longer recognize the "discovery rule" in Michigan.  The latter rule is recognized in most states and was recognized in Michigan for decades as an exception to the normal statute of limitations.  If an injured victim is unable to sue because he or she could not identify the wrongdoer, historically he was allowed a limited time in which to act after the wrongdoer could reasonably be discovered.

          The activist Republicans who tossed out the discovery rule were not joined by the one moderate Republican or the two Democrats.  They adamantly opposed and criticized this repudiation of established precedent.  The decision was handed down in a case that arose out of the murder of a woman by the employee of a landscaping company in the 1980s.  The woman's killer was not identified until DNA testing was performed in 2002 and the killer was identifed, arrested and convicted.  The woman's Estate filed suit six months after the killer was identified and no one disputes that the Estate had no basis to suspect the killer previously.

          The callous majority's decision overrules more than 100 years of Michigan precedent, and the dissenting opinions pointed out that overruling this caselaw violates every precept which the majority had previously trumpeted in opposition to judicial activism.  As Justice Kelly describes it, "the majority's decision throws Michigan into topsy-turvy land where a person's legal claim dies before it is born".  Sadly, this right-wing majority is far more interested in maintaining empty, unused courtrooms than in dispensing justice.  By way of contrast, note the criticisms of China's court system voiced by international experts:  it is suggested that a primary reason China cannot enforce reasonable safety regulations on consumer products is the lack of an impartial judiciary.  How ironic to think that the right-wing in Michigan would be urging us in the direction of a Communist totalitarian government in the name of "progress." 

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262