If you get hit by a drunk driver and break your arm or leg, do you think you should be able to sue the drunk who caused the accident, even if you make a good recovery?
If you get in a car accident but only miss three months of work, or a few semesters of school think you should be able to recover from the at-fault driver?
Not in Michigan, Not anymore. Why not? Because Cliff Taylor says so, that’s why.
In the case of Kreiner v. Fischer the court overruled decades of established law in order to make it harder for injured car accident victims to recover. The worst part of the decision is that the court simply fabricated a new rule requiring that the injuries affect the victims “course and trajectory” of their life. Taylor goes so far as to describe the law protecting insurance companies as the “no-fault temple.”
Since this decision, hundreds of cases have been dismissed for not meeting this new standard. I wonder how much money the Insurance Companies have saved? No wonder the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is running TV ads for Taylor.
I have pasted a few excerpts below from Supreme Court Justices Cavanaugh, Weaver and Kelly’s dissent.
By importing the concept of permanency of injury into MCL 500.3135-a concept that is nowhere referenced in the text of the statute-the majority of four (Chief Justice Taylor, and Justices Corrigan, Young, and Markman), in Kreiner v Fischer, 471 Mich 109 (2004), actively and judicially legislated a permanency and temporal requirement to recover noneconomic damages in automobile accident cases. The Kreiner interpretation of MCL 500.3135 is an unrestrained misuse and abuse of the power of interpretation masquerading as an exercise in following the Legislature’s intent.
The majority suggests that my approach is sacrilegious to the “no-fault temple”
and is an exercise predicated on “studied ignorance.” Ante at 35. While
admittedly unaware that I was required to worship the no-fault insurance gods,
I believe that my “studied ignorance” is more properly labeled as “judicial
restraint.” If ignorance comes from applying this unambiguous statute as written
and not substituting my own view for that of the Legislature, I must say that
ignorance is bliss. If so-called wisdom comes from rewriting this unambiguous
statute to comport with my own preference on how the statute should be
written and applied, in this instance I must choose “ignorance.” Today’s
decision serves as a chilling reminder that activism comes in all guises,
including so-called textualism.
If you think this kind of judicial activism is wrong, vote to restore fairness by voting for Judge Hathaway for the Michigan Supreme Court on the nonpartisan section of the ballot this November. Remember, you have not cast a vote for the supreme court until you check the box next to Judge Hathaway’s name.