McCall Hamilton Advocacy and Public Affairs

Updates About Lower Court Rulings

Court Rules No-Fault Changes Not Retroactive

Update: Aug 22-Sep 2, 2022

The approximately 17,000 who saw their catastrophic care coverage severely limited following the enactment of the 2019 auto no-fault law had a major win on August 25 when the Court of Appeals ruled that the retroactive application of the reform violated the Contracts Clause in the Michigan Constitution.

In the opinion for Andary v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company, issued by Judges Douglas Shapiro and Sima Patel, the judges found that the Legislature failed to clearly specify that the law was to apply retroactively. Those who were injured prior to the new law, under their previous insurance contracts, were guaranteed medical expense care and reimbursement at levels set in those contracts.

Changes in the auto no-fault law, which went into effect in July of 2021, limited reimbursement for family-provided attendant care to 56 hours a week. It also capped a health care provider’s reimbursement for services not covered by Medicare by 45 percent of the fees set in January 2019.

*Andary v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company *was remanded to the Ingham Circuit Court where prospective coverage could be considered. An attorney for the insurance company has said they plan to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Federal Judge Declares Mistrial in Flint Water Trial

Update: Aug 8-19, 2022

On August 11, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Grand of the Eastern District of Michigan U.S. District Court ruled a mistrial in the Flint Water Civil Trial after the jury shared it was unable to come to an agreement on a verdict in the case. The hung jury stated that continued deliberations would cause stress and anxiety with someone having to surrender their vote for the purpose of having a verdict.

The trial involved four plaintiffs, all of which are children, against defendants of engineering firms Veola North America (VNA) and Lockwood, Andrews, & Newnam (LAN). The plaintiffs lived in Flint during the water contamination crisis and attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that LAN was responsible for 25 percent of the crisis while VNA was responsible for 50 percent, with both companies negligent in giving fault advice to the city. The rest was placed on the state and former state officials. LAN and VAN argued the state and city officials were to blame.

In total, the trial lasted 76 days and had 45 people testify in the case.

Judge Extends Preliminary Injunction to Block Enforcement of 1931 Law

Update: Aug 8-19, 2022

After two days of oral arguments, reproductive rights advocates won a temporary victory on August 19 when Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Cunningham extended a preliminary injunction on the 1931 law that essentially bans abortion in Michigan.

The preliminary hearing in Whitmer v. Linderman et al. was called by Judge Cunningham after a Court of Appeals (COA) decision in early August that rendered the existing injunction on the 1931 ban only applicable to state law enforcement, not local prosecutors. Quickly following the COA decision, Judge Cunningham granted Governor Whitmer’s request for a temporary restraining order on county prosecutors and called for another hearing on August 17 to review the injunction.

The decision on August 19 reinstates the injunction until after the November 8 election when voters will potentially have the opportunity to vote on a ballot proposal that will enshrine some level of abortion rights in the state Constitution. The court set a pre-trial conference for 9:30 a.m. on November 21.

At this time, any further legal action regarding the constitutionality of abortion would stem from the Michigan Supreme Court; however, it remains unclear as to whether the court will choose to act before the election.

Following the ruling, Governor Whitmer issued a statement saying, “I am grateful for this ruling that will protect women and ensure nurses and doctors can keep caring for their patients without fear of prosecution…” Right to Life of Michigan took to social media to say: “Governor Whitmer is bringing this case because they have never had the votes to change Michigan’s abortion law and doubt they will have the votes in November to add abortion into our constitution. She doesn’t really believe in democracy.”