Attorneys who represent auto accident victims in this state have long suspected that the deck is stacked against their clients when they take their case before the Michigan Supreme Court.
Those suspicions are now confirmed, according to an excellent and timely new study by the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault (CPAN), “Analysis of Michigan Supreme Court cases decided under the Michigan No-Fault Act within the past 10 years.”
Significantly, here’s what CPAN found:
No one, except for maybe a few stealth political operatives, knows who put up the nearly $14 million that was spent on TV ads to influence the 2012 Michigan Supreme Court election.
According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network’s (MCFN) 2012 “Citizen’s Guide to Michigan Campaign Finance”:
“[C]andidate-focused issue advertising that was not reported to the Bureau of Elections … totaled $13.85 million [during the “2012 Supreme Court campaign”].”
The past 10 years have certainly left experienced No Fault lawyers increasingly puzzled by the “bizzaro” world that the Michigan Supreme Court seems to inhabit whenever it interprets Michigan’s No Fault Law. Whether that be its own incredibly activist interpretation of a plain, unambiguous statutory definition of serious impairment in Kreiner, to the dreadful Cameron decision to Johnson v. Recca, the lawyers who practice in this area of law have largely adopted a “what’s next?” attitude while waiting for the next decision to come.
For the past decade, the Michigan Supreme Court has devastated the rights of car accident victims. I’ve written at length about legal decisions such as Kreiner, Cameron and Devillers — and recently a slew of decisions that decimate an injury victim’s access to life-saving No Fault insurance benefits — that are destroying the fundamental principles underlying our No Fault law.
Last week I wrote about the much needed new bills aimed at stopping the growing problem of attorney solicitation in this state. Injury attorneys are looking up accident victims’ police reports, and using the information to call them, send them mail and even knock on their doors in hopes of drumming up business. This has become a major problem, and it should be stopped now.
My blog post about attorney solicitation probably hasn’t made me many friends amongst certain lawyers in the plaintiff’s bar. I expect this post to likely be the same.
Michigan saw that happen during the previous “Gang of Four” era. These four Engler appointees not only took control of the Court, but they caused so many lawyers and judges to lose faith in our civil justice system. As Justice Stevens observed in his dissent in the Citizens United case: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.” Citizens United v. FEC, 130 S. Ct. 876, 954 (2010) (Stevens, J., dissenting). The way our highest Court ruled consistently against individual citizens and for the insurance industry, dismantling entire areas of consumer protection and personal injury law in its wake was and remains shocking.
I’ve written previously about my own recommendations for the Michigan Supreme Court. This year the candidates will be part of the election on Nov. 6, 2012.
No matter your political ideology, no matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, it is important to know two things:
In my previous blog, I gave some basic information about Judge Connie Marie Kelley, Judge Shelia Johnson and Bridget Mary McCormack. Today, I’d like to address some common questions about these justices:
The Republican majority of our Michigan Supreme Court has sided with insurance companies — and against consumers, including seriously injured auto accident victims — 100% of the time.
Take a look:
As the video says, our current Justices Stephen Markman and Brian Zahra have sided with insurance companies over people 100 percent of the time under Michigan’s No-Fault law. And Republican candidate and former insurance industry lawyer Colleen O’Brien isn’t any better. She actually worked to deny benefits to a cancer patient.
Our clients and friends are always asking us what judges to vote for come election time. I will be writing another blog shortly on all the judicial candidates that I endorse, but today I want to start with the Michigan Supreme Court. These are, after governor, the most powerful seven elected officials in the state. This November, three of them are up for re-election.
So, who is best qualified to receive your vote? The short answer is: Judge Connie Marie Kelley, Judge Shelia Johnson and Bridget Mary McCormack.
Here’s a clever and funny campaign video featuring the cast of the West Wing, reuniting to teach Michigan voters how to fill out the ballot on Nov. 6, and addressing the importance of the Michigan Supreme Court election.
Walk and Talk the Vote – West Wing reunion – Bridget Mary McCormack
When most people vote on Nov. 6, they’ve already made up their minds for president. But judges and the Supreme Court are a different matter.