Today, President Barack Obama made history when he was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States. The irony is that Americans would likely not be swearing in our first African American president if George W. Bush’s presidency hadn’t been such a disaster. This thought brings me to the Michigan Association for Justice (formerly Michigan Trial Lawyers Association) seminar last week. As part of the seminar, top Michigan car accident lawyers put together an excellent motion and brief for plaintiff lawyers facing Kreiner defense motions to dismiss cases under serious impairment. I cannot help thinking that if we had compiled this motion and brief soon after the Michigan Supreme Court released Kreiner v. Fischer in 2004, perhaps we would have a very different body of case law today. Additionally, fewer accident victims might have had their cases dismissed throughout the lingering past four years.
As co-chair for the Michigan Association for Justice Automobile Negligence Committee, I think the organization has learned a tough lesson and will put together a product like this Kreiner response much sooner if such dire need presents itself again (although it’s hard to imagine anything as dire as what’s occurred in the past decade with Michigan auto accident cases). But as we embark on a new era in Michigan jurisprudence, likely with a 4-3 Michigan Supreme Court philosophical majority that isn’t so heavily partisan and biased in favor of automobile insurance companies as the past “gang of four,” I wonder if perhaps I’m being too hard on the MAJ.
The saying is that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Looking at the way the four-arch conservative GOPers on the Court disregarded the most important principles of jurisprudence — stare decisis and respect for precedent — throughout the past decade, I wonder if the Kreiner motion and brief that MAJ recently unveiled would have even made a difference. The irony of Obama’s inauguration is that the extremism and incompetence of the past eight years of George W. Bush made all of this possible. Likewise, one might wonder if such extremism led Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver to begin speaking out, becoming isolated and then attacked by the others, and helping cause the uproar leading Chief Justice Cliff Taylor to lose his re-election bid to Judge Diane Hathaway.
We would not have had Obama today without the pain and misery caused by Bush. On the same note, Michigan lawyers would not be beginning a new era with a new Michigan Supreme Court this month, and with far more hope than has existed in more than 10 years for victims of serious personal injury and insurance company abuse. The horrors and judicial extremism of the gang of four is no longer.
Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights.