MSC orders amendments to summary disposition, default judgment rules

The Michigan Supreme Court approved a slew of court rule amendments on October 3. The amendments were made to MCR 3.979, MCR 2.116, MCR 2.603  and MCR 9.113(A).

Perhaps the two with the widest effect on the industry are the changes to MCR 2.116 and 2. 603. Both amendments were discussed in the most recent administrative conference on September 27.

The amended MCR 2.603 allows for entry of a default judgment if “the damages amount requested isn’t greater than the amount stated in the complaint.”

The amended MCR 2.116 adds forum selection agreement as grounds for summary disposition under subsection (C)(7).

The remaining two amendments affect juvenile guardianships and grievance procedure. MCR 3.979 was changed to allow continuing court jurisdiction over a guardianship if the Department of Human Services continues to provide subsides after a ward reaches the age of 18, and to require annual review hearings in such cases.

MCR 9.113 was amended to give the grievance administrator “discretion to withhold all or part of respondent’s answer and any supporting documents from the person who filed the request for investigation.” [From staff comment].

Guardianship and default court rule changes proposed

A proposed court rule amendment, if adopted by the Michigan Supreme Court, would clear the way for the state to receive federal funding for a program that extends foster care services for qualifying youths.

Two new laws, 2011 PA 225 and 2011 PA 229, spell out the circumstances under which youths who left the foster care program at age 18 can re-enter the program and receive additional services until they are 21.

The proposed amendment of MCR 3.979 would implement judicial oversight of a youth’s continuing eligibility for the extended services:

If extended guardianship assistance has been provided to a youth pursuant to MCL 400.665, the court shall conduct an annual review hearing at least once every 12 months after the youth’s eighteenth birthday to determine that the guardianship meets the criteria under MCL 400.667.

Notice of the hearing shall be sent to the guardian and the youth as provided in MCR 3.920(D)(1). The court shall issue an order to support its determination and serve the order on the Department of Human Services, the guardian, and the youth.

According to the staff comment accompanying the proposed amendment, “Adoption of the proposed amendment will enable Michigan to receive federal Title IV-E funding for the post-18 guardianship program.”

The MSC is also proposing a change to MCR 2.603 (Default and Default Judgments).

“The proposed amendment of MCR 2.603 would clarify that a court clerk could enter a default judgment if the requested damages are less than the amount claimed in the original complaint, to reflect payments that may have been made or otherwise credited,” according to the staff comment.

The comment period for the proposals closes Aug. 1, 2012. Please refer to the link for each proposal for information to submit comments.