Today (August 2, 2006), a lawyer asked on the Family Law Listserv a question that may be of substantial interest to some Michigan parents and lawyers in light of the Michigan supreme court's decision three days ago in Barnes v Jeudevine. He asked:
"I filed a motion which the court denied in a paternity action several months ago. Last week the Supremes issued an opinion in a case that gives me a basis for filing a motion for reconsideration but it would obviously be beyond the deadline set by the court rules. Does anyone know of a case that says such a motion is appropriate even if after the deadline when an appellate court issues a new decision? Thanks in advance."
I wonder if this order could be reviewed under MCR 2.612 on a motion for relief from judgment? According to MCR 2.612(C)(1), on motion and on just terms, the court may relieve a party or the legal representative of a party from a final judgment, order, or proceeding on the following grounds:
(f) Any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.
(2) The motion must be made within a reasonable time, and, for the grounds stated in subrules (C)(1)(a), (b), and (c), within one year after the judgment, order, or proceeding was entered or taken. A motion under this subrule does not affect the finality of a judgment or suspend its operation.
The lawyer, Howard Wallach, of Bingham Farms, the responded to me: "Thanks. I found an unpublished case on point. Schoolcraft Egg v Schoolcraft Twp."
In reviewing Schoolcraft, indeed, where the supreme court has modified the law subsequent to the issuance of an order of dismissal, a party may file a motion for reconsideration. The usual 14-day time limit for a motion under MCR 2.119 does not apply. (See the 3rd page of the opinion in Schoolcraft Egg v Schoolcraft Twp, Docket No 216268, decided Aug. 11, 2000).
I wonder whether the supreme court envisioned the impact that its decision might have if numerous cases may be reviewed where the decision in Barnes will change the result? Query: The opinion in Schoolcraft did not cite to MCR 2.612 -- presumably because more than 1 year had elapsed between the order of dismissal and the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration under MCR 2.119. I read that to mean that the court was not imposing any short deadline for filing a motion for reconsideration. Hmm. The phrase "opening the floodgates for litigation" comes to mind.
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