Atkins v. SMART – Michigan Supreme Court Overturns Court of Appeals and Rules Claims Against Public Transportation Authority Were Barred by Plaintiff’s Failure to Provide 60-Day Written Notice of Tort Claims as Required by Statute

I briefed and argued this case for SMART in the Supreme Court on March 7th, 2012 on my application for leave to appeal.  Rather than grant, the Court issued an opinion in favor of SMART, reversing the Court of Appeals decision, which I had appealed.

In an opinion released on August 20th, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals decision in favor of the Suburban Metropolitan Transportation Authority (SMART), which had ruled that Plaintiff’s third-party common-law tort claims could go forward despite the fact that the Plaintiff failed to provide written notice of her intention to bring such a claim within 60 days as required by MCL 124.419.

The well-reasoned opinion demonstrates faithfulness to the language of the statute as written by the Legislature, and proves the Court majority’s adherence to the rule of law over judicial lawmaking.

This case was released with McCahan v. Brennan, another notice case against the University of Michigan, which was also argued on the Court’s March 2012 calendar.  Since Atkins cross-references McMahan and the two opinions followed similar legal reasoning, I am attaching both opinions here.

Atkins Opinion

McCahan Opinion

About cjtucker06

Owner of law firm since July 2014; Handles all types of appellate matters and assists other lawyers with complex litigation and insurance coverage issues; Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the State Bar of Michigan; Expertise in prosecuting and defending appeals with several significant successes in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals; Author of briefs amicus curiae in the Michigan Supreme Court for the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel and the Insurance Institute of Michigan; Represents Insurance Companies, Major International Business, Governmental Entities, Law Enforcement Officers and County Sheriffs. Board of Directors, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Military - Retired Major in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps of the United States Army, Brigade Judge Advocate and Staff JAG officer for the Maneuver Training Center, Camp Grayling, Michigan; Recipient of the Army's Meritorious Service Medal (the highest medal of honor available to Soldiers serving in non-combat roles); 2012 Graduate of the Judge Advocate Officer Advanced Course, at The Judge Advocate Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia. United States Navy Reserves, Combat Warfare Qualification, January 1989 to July 2003 Former law clerk to Justice Stephen J. Markman, Michigan Supreme Court, Research Attorney, Michigan Court of Appeals. Insurance Coverage Associate Plunkett Cooney; Environmental Law Attorney at Squire Sanders, now Squire Patton Boggs; Master's Degree in Environmental Law; Environmental Law Scholar, ALI/ABA Washington, D.C., Juris Doctorate, Vermont Law School, Environmental Editor, Vermont Law Review; Treasurer and Finalist, Moot Court Advisory Board.
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