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].

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MSC considering MCR amendments

The Michigan Supreme Court has released for comment proposed amendments to the Michigan Court Rules.

Summary Disposition: A change to MCR 2.116(C)(7) would clarify the procedure for bringing a motion for summary disposition on the grounds of a forum selection clause.

Attorney Discipline: MCR 9.113 would be revised to clarify that the grievance administrator is required to disclose an answer in a Request for Investigation to the complainant, but may decline to disclose supporting documents if there is good cause not to do so.

Criminal Law: A proposed amendment of MCR 6.419 (Motion for Directed Verdict of Acquittal) contains two alternatives. Alternative A would revise MCR 6.419 to be similar to the federal corollary of this rule (FR Crim P 29[b]). Under this language, the trial court would be entitled to reserve judgment on a motion for directed verdict. Alternative B would allow a trial court to reconsider its decision to grant a directed verdict. This language was proposed based on the United States Supreme Court decision of Smith v Massachusetts, 543 US 462 (2005).

Parole Board Appeals: The concept for a proposed revision of MCR 7.118 was submitted by the State Bar of Michigan Prisons & Corrections Section. The section asserts that if a prosecutor or victim files an appeal of a decision of the Michigan Parole Board to grant parole, the appellee (the prisoner) should be entitled to be represented by counsel if the prisoner is indigent. The proposed amendments would require a prisoner to request representation within 14 days of notice of the appeal, and establish other procedural steps.

Foreign Language Interpreters: A proposed amendment of MCR 1.111 and MCR 8.127 includes two separate proposed rules that relate to foreign language interpreters. The first proposed rule, MCR 1.111, would establish the procedure for appointment of interpreters, and establish the standards under which such appointment would occur. The proposed rule includes alternative language for subrules (B) and (F)(4).

The second proposed rule, MCR 8.127, would create a board to oversee certification of interpreters and other interpreter-related functions, and provide a procedure for imposing discipline upon interpreters who commit misconduct. The board’s structure and responsibilities are similar to those of the Court Reporting and Recording Board of Review described in MCR 8.108.

The comment period for these proposals closes Sept. 1, 2012. Please refer to the link for each proposal for instructions on submitting comments.