Most Michigan citizens are focused on the Presidential race; I understand that. But of almost equal importance to Michigan voters is the race for a seat on the Michigan Supreme Court. The incumbent, Clifford Taylor, is the most anti-justice candidate to ever sit on the high court, voting against the rights of citizens and for huge corporations and insurance companies almost every time. His opponent, Judge Diane Marie Hathaway is a pro-justice alternative. Many citizens are unaware of the important differences between these two candidates or even how to vote the non-partisan section of the ballot. It is extremely important to vote in the race for Supreme Court and, in my opinion, you should cast your vote for Judge Hathaway.
Why? There are seven Michigan Supreme Court Justices. Currently, the anti-justice forces enjoy a 4-3 majority. Thus, a one-vote swing is crucial. Below is just a sampling of anti-citizen pro-big insurance decisions made by Cliff Taylor; it is a long and troubling list. Here are my least favorite 25:
1. Lugo v Ameritech, 464 Mich 512 (2001). The Taylor Court adopts an "open and obvious" doctrine in slip and fall cases. If you can see it and you fall on it, you lose. Forget that Michigan is a comparative negligence State. In slip and fall, only the plaintiff's negligence counts. The defendant can be negligent as hell and it doesn't count. The court actually states that no typical person could ever be seriously injured from falling in a pothole or on a sidewalk. Tell that to Dr. Atkins or Ed MacMahon!
2. Reed v Breton, 475 Mich 531 (2006). The Taylor court ignores and overrules decades of common law that allowed circumstantial evidence to prove an illegal sale of alcohol in a drunk driving case. Defendant admitted to drinking 20 beers before he killed someone while driving at 100 mph and had a .21 blood alcohol level, but the bar that served him was excused under this new standard. Is that justice?
3. Kreiner v Fischer, 471 Mich 109 (2004). This Taylor Court decision denies seriously injured auto accident victims from recovery in accidents caused by negligent and even drunk drivers.
4 & 5. Roberts v Mecosta General Hospital, 466 Mich 57 (2002), after remand 470 Mich 679 (2004) and Burton v Reed City Hospital Corp, 471 Mich 745 (2005) The Taylor Court denies court access to persons injured by medical negligence based on minor technicalities.
6. Waltz v Wyse, 469 Mich 642 (2004). The Taylor Court, suddenly, without precedent, and without warning, changes the way the wrongful death statute of limitations is calculated and denies the relatives of persons killed by medical negligence access to court.
7. Nawrocki v Macomb Co Road Commn, 463 Mich 143 (2000). The Taylor Court virtually eliminates governmental responsibility to maintain public roads.
8. Cameron v ACIA, 476 Mich 55( 2006). The Taylor Court, despite existing law to the contrary, shortens the statute of limitations to one year for minors and brain injured persons in auto accidents in claims seeking no-fault benefits, screwing innocent, seriously injured, kids out of needed and justified benefits.
9. Wickens v Oakwood Healthcare System, 465 Mich 53 (2001). This one is shocking even for Taylor! The Taylor Court holds that an injured person who dies, must die within the two year statute of limitations or the deceased's heirs are denied the right to sue for his loss! Can you believe this nonsense?
10. Zsigo v Hurley Medical Center, 475 Mich 215 (2006). A hospital employee rapes a
helpless patient in the hospital and the Taylor Court holds that a hospital has no responsibility to protect patients from employees who engage in intentional or criminal acts.
11. McKim v Forward Lodging Inc, 474 Mich 947 (2005). The Taylor Court decides that an EMT could not sue for injuries received while trying to assist injured patient.
12. Robinson v City of Detroit, 462 Mich 439 (2000). The Taylor Court excuses the government from any liability when it injures persons so long as they can prove that someone else was also
partly at fault.
13. MacDonald v PKT, Inc., 464 Mich 322 (2001). The Taylor Court decides that businesses have no duty to protect customers from dangers until they see an immediate risk of harm to a customer and their only duty is to call the police.
14. Garg v Macomb Mental Health, 472 Mich 263 (2005). The Taylor Court overrules precedent and allows employers to escape liability for sexual harassment if it has been going on for a long time.
15. Michalski v Bar-Levav, 463 Mich 723 (2001). The Taylor Court eliminates the rights of handicapped workers to safe and reasonable working conditions.
16. Griffith v State Farm, 472 Mich 521 (2005). The Taylor Court holds that there is no requirement to pay for food for a quadriplegic who chooses to live with a guardian rather than in an institution. Do you see the distinction?
17. Haynie v State, 468 Mich 302 (2003). The Taylor Court decides that harassment of female coworkers that is gender-based, but not sexual in nature, is no longer actionable.
18. Devillers v Auto Club Ins Ass'n, 473 Mich 562 (2005). This Taylor Court decision allows
Michigan no- fault insurers to avoid paying claims if it waits long enough before processing them. I guess if you screw people around for a long enough time, you win!
19. Greene v AP Products Ltd., 475 Mich 502 (2006). The Taylor Court decides that a bottle of hair oil did not require a warning that the contents could be deadly and should be kept out of the reach of children.
20. Elezovic v Ford Motor Co, 472 Mich 408 (2005). The Taylor Court decides that there was insufficient notice of workplace harassment, despite that fact that plaintiff notified two supervisors and filed numerous grievances against the alleged harasser.
21. Gilbert v DaimlerChrysler Corp, 470 Mich 749 (2004). The Taylor Court overturns a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff because, according to dissenting Michigan Supreme Court Justices, Taylor and other majority justices disliked the plaintiff's attorney.
22. Magee v DaimlerChrysler Corp, 472 Mich 108 (2005). The Taylor Court rules that even though the plaintiff's claims of sexual harassment, sex and age discrimination and retaliation were filed within three years of the date she resigned, the suit was too late because none of the alleged conduct occurred within the three years before filing the complaint.
23. Sington v Chrysler Corporation, 467 Mich 144 (2002).The Taylor Court consults a dictionary and overrules the existing Workers Compensation definition of "disability", overturning the statutory definition and making it far more difficult to be compensated for a work place injury.
24. Grimes v Dep't of Transportation, 475 Mich 72 (2006). A quadriplegic could not pursue justice because the Taylor Court holds that the shoulder of a roadway is not part of the "improved portion of the highway designed for vehicular travel" which eliminates the government's duty to maintain them free of serious defects. In Hanson v Mecosta Co Road Comm, 465 Mich 492 (2002) the Taylor Court similarly holds that the state has no liability for the defective design of a public highway.
25. Henry v Dow Chemical, 473 Mich 63 (2006). The Taylor Court decides that people negligently exposed to carcinogens are precluded from bringing claims because they didn't get cancer quickly enough (some cancers take years to manifest). Similarly, in Creech v Foot Memorial, 474 Mich 1135 (2006), the Taylor Court denies the claims of multiple
patients who had been negligently exposed to an infection while receiving medical treatment because they had not develop symptoms yet (which may take years to develop).
Scary stuff, isn't it? Want to stop the assault on civil justice? Then listen to Judge Hathaway's own words and vote on the non-partisan section of the ballot. In some cases, the voter must turn the ballot over and vote on the opposite side to vote for Judge Hathaway for Supreme Court. Please remember to do this.
"I urge everybody to vote the non-partisan part of the ballot vote because that part usually has such a huge falloff rate" (people who forget to vote the non-partisan section or don't realize there are more decisions to make on the back of the ballot) says Judge Hathaway.
Judge Hathaway has served as a Wayne County Circuit Court judge for over 15 years and presides over criminal, civil and and family law matters. She is is 54, a graduate of the Detroit College of Law and a wife and mother of five children.
Judge Hathaway is running for the Supreme Court because she believes that Justice Taylor has ignored existing law and precedent and has supported special interest groups at the expense of individual rights. She cites a University of Chicago Law School study that ranks Michigan's Supreme Court last among our 50 United States when it comes to judicial independence (defined as the ability to withstand partisan pressure).
"I want to protect individual rights and not make rulings that take them away and I want to be fair and impartial in rendering decisions," says Hathaway. Michigan Lawyer's Weekly and practicing Michigan attorneys rank Taylor worst in preparedness, efficiency and overall knowledge of law, and thoroughness of opinion.
Hathaway also criticizes a ruling that compromises our environment and limits application of the Michigan Environmental Protection Act of 1970. Hathaway believes that the intent of the law is to allow everyday citizens to act as watchdogs on environmental issues and that the Taylor Court compromised that intent with their ruling. She said she plans to restore the power to the people if elected to the Supreme Court and promises to treat every person fairly and to take their concerns seriously. "I will protect...individual rights and not make rulings that take them away. I also want to treat everyone the same, with the dignity and respect that they deserve. I want to make decisions on the merits of their case without any concern for national origin, sexual orientation, and things of that nature, and I will be a fair judge who will listen to their concerns."
Do you want a Michigan Supreme Court Justice who treats everyone fairly and protects individual rights? If so, you must vote the non-partisan section of your ballot (don't forget that this section might be on the back of the ballot) and vote for Diane Marie Hathaway for the Michigan Supreme Court. Vote "All the way for Hathaway". Thank you.