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Collins Einhorn attorneys Kevin P. Moloughney and Patrick J. Walbridge won summary disposition on a third-party auto-negligence claim, based on the plaintiff’s failure to prove that he suffered an objectively manifested impairment of an important body function. The Court agreed that the medical records relied on by the plaintiff only demonstrated subjective complaints, which were insufficient to meet the serious impairment threshold imposed by the Michigan No-Fault Act.

Attorneys Matthew S. LaBeau and Peter J. Tomasek obtained summary disposition in Calhoun County Circuit Court in a lawsuit for first-party, no-fault benefits. A hospital claimed that, under an assignment clause in the hospital’s consent-for-treatment form and the hospital’s fee agreement with Cofinity/PPOM, it had standing to claim over $400,000 in no-fault benefits. The Court rejected this argument, finding that the assignment was invalid and that the Cofinity/PPOM agreement didn’t give the hospital standing. The Court dismissed the case in its entirety.

On Monday, April 17, 2018, attorney Kellie L. Howard-Goudy will be speaking at the Risk Management Society, RIMS, Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Ms. Howard-Goudy will speak at one of the conference’s “innovation hubs,” which are focused on cutting-edge developments in topics related to risk management. Ms. Howard-Goudy’s session is entitled Autonomous Vehicles: The Present, the Future, and Insurable Risks. The presentation contains a detailed analysis of technical developments in the autonomous-vehicle industry and an outline of risk issues affecting insurers. Ms. Howard-Goudy will be joined by Timothy D. Crawley, Esq. (Anderson, Crawley & Burke, PLLC) who will discuss current regulatory efforts in the autonomous-vehicle industry. Information covered will include emerging issues with data privacy and ethical issues related to artificial intelligence.

On Friday, April 27, 2018, attorney Rick Braun will be speaking at the Environmental and Emerging Claim Manager Association Annual Conference, to be held in Orlando, Florida. The session is entitled “WARNING: This Subject Contains a Discussion of Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer – Proposition 65 and Labeling Laws: Who Actually Benefits in the Age of Over-Warning?” He will be joined by Christine D. Calareso, Esq. (CMBG3 LLC) and Ryan Landis, Esq. (Polsinelli).

Information covered will include a review of California’s Prop 65, the trend toward similar laws in other jurisdictions, and how to combat and prevent claims related to labeling and warnings.

Collins Einhorn Attorneys Kenneth C. Merritt, Kari L. Melkonian, and Jonathan B. Koch successfully defended a multi-million dollar premises-liability case. The defendant was an auction-services company hired to conduct an estate sale at a private residence. After the estate sale concluded, the plaintiff was injured when she fell down a three-foot drop-off created by a missing set of stairs after she stepped through a set of exterior doors in the house’s dining room. Based on that incident, plaintiff filed this premises-liability suit against the auction company, claiming several million dollars in damages. After the trial court denied defendant’s motion for summary disposition, Collins Einhorn attorneys obtained a rare grant of leave to appeal from the Court of Appeals. After full briefing and oral argument, the Court of Appeals reversed. The panel held that the trial court should have granted summary disposition because the defendant lacked possession and control over the property and because the hazard was open-and-obvious. The Supreme Court denied plaintiff’s application for leave to appeal.

Attorney Elizabeth A. Hohauser successfully argued that a plaintiff’s failure to fulfill discovery and motion-practice obligations should result in the most drastic sanction—dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims. Hohauser represented the defendant, an automotive insurance company. Hohauser persuaded the trial court that the plaintiff’s late response to requests for admissions, together with the plaintiff’s other failures under the court rules, warranted dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims. The trial court entered an order dismissing the plaintiff’s case with prejudice against Hohauser’s client.

The plaintiff filed a legal-malpractice complaint against his criminal-defense lawyer. His claims were based on his conviction for assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder—he stabbed a man in the neck during a fight at a hookah lounge. After his conviction, the plaintiff filed a motion arguing that he did not receive effective assistance of counsel. The criminal court denied the motion. In the civil case, David Anderson represented the criminal-defense lawyer and obtained summary dismissal. He argued, and the court agreed, that the trial court’s finding in the criminal case that plaintiff did, in fact, receive effective assistance of counsel collaterally estopped him from claiming that his lawyer committed malpractice. The plaintiff appealed and Michael Cook successfully obtained a Michigan Court of Appeals opinion affirming the trial court’s ruling.

Attorney Matthew S. LaBeau represented a snow-removal company in a Macomb County slip-and-fall case. He argued that the court should dismiss the plaintiff’s claims because the snow-removal company didn’t owe the plaintiff a legal duty in the first place. This argument drew on a body of Michigan law holding that a plaintiff seeking damages for negligence must establish that the defendant owed a duty independent of its contractual obligations. Here, the Macomb County Circuit Court agreed with LaBeau’s argument that the snow-removal company didn’t owe the plaintiff a separate duty. It therefore entered a judgment in favor of the snow-removal company, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims for significant damages.

Collins Einhorn Farrell PC is pleased to announce that attorney Lindsey A. Peck has joined the firm’s Appellate Practice Group. Ms. Peck will be focusing her practice on appellate litigation, dispositive motion practice, and post-verdict litigation in the trial courts.

In Hagy v Demers & Adams, Case No. 17-3696 (February 16, 2018), the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a plaintiff with an otherwise valid claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act did not satisfy the “case and controversy” requirement under Article III of the federal constitution.

An attorney representing the creditor in Hagy sent a letter to the debtor’s attorney stating that the debtor didn’t owe anything else to the creditor. The letter didn’t include disclosures required under the FDCPA. So the debtor filed a lawsuit under the FDCPA and its Ohio-law analogue. The trial court declined to dismiss the debtor’s lawsuit, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. To read the full client alert, click on the headline.