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Why should voters steer clear of Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. in his bid to the Michigan Supreme Court?

Lawyers from Michigan Auto Law call out the radical and activist nature of Young’s rate of overruling personal injury lawsuits

Justice Robert P. Young Jr.’s record for overruling personal injury lawsuits decided by the Michigan Supreme Court is radical, activist, and threatens both the stability of Michigan law and the actual and perceived integrity of the state’s legal process. Our personal injury lawyers have found that no justice currently sitting on the Michigan Supreme Court has overruled cases more frequently or overruled more cases than Young during his tenure.

Young, a conservative Republican, who is running in November for reelection to his second 8-year term as a Michigan Supreme Court justice, has a 92 percent “overruling rate.” That means Young has voted to overrule Michigan Supreme Court cases (which are also referred to as “precedent”) in 92 percent of the cases where the opportunity to overrule has presented itself.

Young’s overruling rate compared to other Michigan Supreme Court justices

The radical and activist nature of Young’s overruling rate becomes clear when it’s compared to the other justices’ overruling rates.

Young was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court by former Republican Governor John M. Engler in 1998 and was elected to his first full 8-year term in 2002. During Young’s tenure, 1999-present:

o Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly’s overruling rate has been a mere 14 percent.
o Justice Michael F. Cavanagh has voted to overrule Michigan Supreme Court precedent in only 18 percent of the lawsuits where the issue arose.
o And Justice Elizabeth A. Weaver’s overruling rate is only 69 percent.

Although other conservative Republican justices have had high overruling rates, none have outpaced Young. Between 2000-10, Young’s overruling rate was 92 percent, whereas Justice Stephen J. Markman’s rate was 89 percent. And, between 1999-2008, Young achieved a 100 percent overruling rate, while then-Justice Clifford W. Taylor voted to overrule in 95 percent of the cases where the opportunity presented itself. Although conservative Republican Justice Maura D. Corrigan, who joined the Michigan Supreme Court in 1999 and continues to serve, has kept pace with Young, she has not surpassed him.

Clifford Taylor, a conservative Republican who was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1997 by former Governor Engler, lost his reelection bid to Justice Diane M. Hathaway in 2008. Markman was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court by Engler in 1999, but did not participate in the overruling of Michigan Supreme Court precedent until 2000.

Exactly how many personal injury cases has Young overruled?

Justice Robert Young’s radical and activist approach to overruling Michigan Supreme Court precedent also reveals itself in the sheer number of Michigan Supreme Court cases he is responsible for overruling. Most of these cases involve personal injury.

Since 1999, Young has overruled 92 Michigan Supreme Court cases. That means that his votes to overrule Michigan Supreme Court precedent has resulted in the overruling of 92 Michigan Supreme Court cases.

However, during the same time period:

o Weaver has overruled only 70 cases.
o Cavanagh has overruled only 20.
o Kelly has overruled only 17.
o Corrigan kept pace with Young at 92.

Between 2000 and 2010, Young overruled 87 to Markman’s 79.

And between 1999-2008, Young overruled 88 Michigan Supreme Court cases, while Taylor overruled 82.

To further illustrate how extreme Young is in his approach to overruling Michigan Supreme Court cases, consider that he has cast aside more cases in his relatively short tenure than have several of his longer-serving colleagues.

Cavanagh, who joined the Michigan Supreme Court in 1983, has served on the high court almost three times as long as Young, yet Young has overruled almost three times as many Michigan Supreme Court cases as Cavanagh.

Additionally, during Young’s 12 years on the court, he has overruled more cases than Weaver during her 16 years on the court and than Kelly during her 14 years as a Supreme Court justice.

Michigan voters remember: Justice Robert Young only has special interest insurance companies in mind

Young, like all of the justices currently sitting on the Michigan Supreme Court, has agreed to the following words spoken by the U.S. Supreme Court:

“[Abiding by, or adhering to, decided cases] promotes the evenhanded, predictable, and consistent development of legal principles, fosters reliance on judicial decisions, and contributes to the actual and perceived integrity of the judicial process.”

Yet, Young’s actions with regard to overruling Michigan Supreme Court cases stand in stark contrast to those words.

Voters should remember that when they go to the polls in November. Show Young that actions speak louder than words by voting to give his seat on the Michigan Supreme Court to someone who will bring to it the integrity that the Supreme Court and the people of Michigan deserve.

Our personal injury lawyers recommend voting to re-elect Justice Alton T. Davis, and voting to elect Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris. They are the best choice for Michigan accident victims and the best choice for Michigan.

* For more about Justice Robert P. Young Jr.’s record on overruling Michigan Supreme Court cases (precedent), see Michigan Auto Law’s “Overruling Michigan Supreme Court Precedent,” which details the “overruling” records of all of the justices currently sitting on the Michigan Supreme Court.

Steve Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top personal injury lawyers handling serious car and truck accident cases and insurance No-Fault litigation. Steve speaks and writes extensively on Michigan’s auto accident laws and is available for comment on the upcoming Michigan Supreme Court race.

These blogs were authored by Steve Gursten and Todd Berg, esq.

More blogs about Justice Young:

Tea Party should vote against Justice Robert Young for the Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Young: Voted last among judges and personal injury attorney but first with special interest cash

Reason to defeat Justice Young for re-election to Michigan Supreme Court: Severe bias toward personal injury victims

Related information:

Personal injuries from auto accidents in Michigan

Ex-Justice Cliff Taylor and AAA Insurance Company: Shame on you

Michigan Auto Law is the leading and largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state for more than 50 years. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.

Paid for with regulated funds by the Gursten, Koltonow, Gursten & Raitt, P.C., Committee, 30101 Northwestern Highway, Farmington Hills, Michigan 48334. Not authorized by any Candidate Committee.

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