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Third Party Auto
Motor Vehicle Litigation / October 10, 2012
Court/Case No: Wayne County Circuit Court / Case No. 2011-000492-NI
Tried/Argued Before: Judge
Verdict: $0 - Summary Disposition Granted
Name of Judge(s): Daphne Means Curtis
Keys to the Case:
Plaintiffs sought to impose liability upon Secrest Wardle’s client based on the owner’s liability statute, MCL 257.401. MCL 257.401(1) set forth a complete defense to a claim under the statute if the vehicle was being driven without the owner’s “express or implied consent or knowledge.” Defendant moved for summary disposition, offering evidence (in the form of two affidavits) that the vehicle in question was stolen at the time of the accident. Plaintiffs opposed the motion, arguing that the affidavits were “fishy” and that Defendant’s explanation of the theft “didn’t sound right.” The trial court initially agreed with Plaintiffs, and denied the motion even though Plaintiffs had offered no countervailing evidence. However, the trial court granted Defendant’s motion on reconsideration. On reconsideration, Defendant presented the court with clearly established law stating that, when a motion for summary disposition is supported by affidavits, plaintiff must offer admissible evidence to the contrary; plaintiff simply cannot ask the court to make a credibility determination in the absence of evidence supportive of plaintiff’s case.
Defense SW attorney(s) Involved in Case: