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Third Party Negligence

Motor Vehicle Litigation / August 28, 2015

Court/Case No: Wayne County Circuit Court/15-000585-NI

Tried/Argued Before: Judge

Demand:  No demand made prior to motion

Verdict: $0

Name of Judge(s): Honorable Judge Daniel Hathaway

Keys to the Case:

This third-party automobile negligence action arose from a motor-vehicle accident that occurred on or about January 27, 2014, in Wayne County, Michigan. Plaintiff claimed that he suffered injuries causing serious impairment to his head, neck and back.

In our motion we argued that Plaintiff failed to establish the “serious impairment of an important body function” standard for third-party tort claims as articulated by the legislature in §500.3135(5). Specifically, we argued that Plaintiff did not sustain “an objectively manifested impairment (observable or perceivable from actual symptoms or conditions)” as a result of this accident because the only injuries which Plaintiff allegedly sustained in the subject accident were soft tissue sprains to his back and shoulders, and Plaintiff has no objective diagnostic proof of a serious impairment injury. We additionally argued that Plaintiff’s claim failed because his ability to lead his normal life had not changed as a result of this accident given he missed less than a week of work and was able to return to virtually all pre-accident activities within two months of this accident.

We filed a Reply Brief to Plaintiff’s Response drawing attention to Plaintiff’s inadequate response. Plaintiff failed to attach any exhibits or other documentary evidence to his Response, and because we properly supported our Motion, under MCR 2.116(G)(4), we were further entitled to summary disposition.

At the Motion the Judge proceeded to read his prepared opinion granting our Motion into the record. The Court’s opinion addressed both Plaintiff’s failure to properly support his motion in violation of the Court Rules, as well as Plaintiff’s failure to establish a question of fact regarding either prong of the McCormick standard under MCL § 500.3135(5). While Judge Hathaway did base his decision in part on Plaintiff’s failure to present any evidence to the Court, his opinion also addressed the substantive merits of Plaintiff’s third-party claim, and it appears as though the Court found that Plaintiff failed to meet the third-party threshold regardless of any evidentiary deficiencies in his Motion Response.

Defense SW attorney(s) Involved in Case:


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