On December 14, the Michigan Supreme Court peremptorily reversed the Court of Appeals, and relied on the dissenting opinion in the Court of Appeals, in Smith v. Suburban Mobile Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART). Justice Kelly dissented from that decision, and Justice Hathaway did not participate due to a conflict.
Judge Meter wrote the Court of Appeals’ dissent, which held that the circuit court decision dismissing plaintiff’s case should have been upheld. Judge Meter agreed that, per MCL 124.419, plaintiff failed to serve written notice of his claim on SMART within 60 days of the accident that injured him. In that case, plaintiff called to report the accident to SMART’s call center, submitted to an interview by SMART’s insurance adjuster, and emailed with that adjuster. The adjuster also sent an email about the accident to SMART. The Court of Appeals majority felt this was at least substantial compliance with the requirement that plaintiff provide written notice, insofar as the statute does not say who (plaintiff or SMART’s adjuster) must submit the notice. However, the dissent – adopted by the Supreme Court – held that the adjuster’s email was too vague to be the written notice required by the statute, and that no notice was given regarding the claimed injuries or other elements required to be described.
The Supreme Court also granted oral argument in a criminal case application, and denied a third application. In People v. Harris, the Supreme Court asked to hear argument as it considers whether to grant the application about whether the defendant was prejudiced by admission of testimony regarding complainant’s diagnosis as a victim of child sexual abuse, and whether he is entitled to a new trial.
The Harris case has already been up to the Supreme Court once, where the high court peremptorily reversed the Court of Appeals and held that admission of the diagnosis testimony was error. The Supreme Court remanded for determination of the prejudice issue, and the Court of Appeals held that the error did not prejudice Mr. Harris such that he failed to receive a fair trial.